COVID-19 spike subsides at Gorham’s Village Elementary School – Community News
Covid-19

COVID-19 spike subsides at Gorham’s Village Elementary School

Village Elementary School has seen a decline in the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, with nearly 30% of students quarantined last week.

Next week there will be a vaccination clinic for students aged 5-11 at the school and others in the city.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Village fell to 13 on Tuesday, after rising to 18, according to Chief Inspector Heather Perry. She predicts that the number of cases will “fall sharply again” by the end of this week.

More than 120 village students were quarantined last week, representing 28.9% of the 415 enrollments in the fall. On Tuesday, 33 students were quarantined.

The school was closed on November 1 to make changes to pandemic safety protocols in the cafeteria. Two lunch periods were added and dining tables were replaced by 100 separate desks and chairs. Some furniture was also removed from the classrooms to allow for additional space, Perry said.

The school was given outbreak status on October 28.

“The phrase ‘outbreak status’ sounds scary, but it’s a specific health term used when there are three or more epidemiologically linked, confirmed cases from different households over a 14-day period in a single setting, in this case a school,” Kelli Deveaux, director of communications for the Maine Department of Education, said in an email to the American Journal.

The city’s other schools have not seen a comparable spike in cases. Great Falls Elementary School had one active case on November 8, and Gorham Middle School had two. Narragansett Elementary School had five cases on November 9, and Gorham High School had two.

Gorham schools will host COVID-19 vaccination clinics for ages 5-11 next week. The clinics are on Wednesday, November 17 at 8:00 a.m. in the high school and at 10:00 a.m. at Great Falls Elementary; Thursday, November 18 at 9:00 AM at Narragansett Elementary and 11:30 AM at Village Elementary.

A second series of vaccination clinics will take place in December.

School committee chair Darryl Wright told City Council on Tuesday that school officials are targeting a 75% attendance rate at the clinic. Fully vaccinated students, based on current CDC rules, “will no longer have to quarantine as close contacts” when COVID cases emerge, he said.

According to state data released Tuesday, more than 2,000 schoolchildren have received their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine since those 5-11 years old became eligible a week ago.

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