Dear Staff and Brewer Schools’ Families,
This letter is to inform you that three individuals associated with Brewer High School (BHS) have tested positive for COVID-19. This includes two new cases plus the one announced last Thursday, November 19. When there are a total of three positive cases within fourteen days of one another the Maine Center for Disease Control (MCDC) can identify it as an outbreak and decide to close a school in order to exercise appropriate caution and stop further spread of the virus.
Nothing in these cases have any impact on Brewer Community School (BCS), so the Pre-K through grade 8 program will follow their regular schedule. All virtual parent/teacher conferences in both schools will continue as scheduled.
I thank our staff and students who have been diligent in wearing masks and practicing social distancing along with other important safety measures. While there is no way to conclusively determine where a case originated due to community spread, there is evidence that following these and the other Keys to Safety in the Brewer Schools have helped to keep our schools safe since we started in September and will do so going forward.
Currently, the return date for BHS will be Thursday, December 3, 2020 following the November break. Monday, November 30; Tuesday, December 1; and Wednesday, December 2 will be remote learning days following the revised A/B Calendar. Students should look for an email from teachers, no later than Monday, November 30 at 7:30 a.m. that will give instruction on how to log into classes. Students who are not able to connect for their classes will be able to make up the work. If anything changes regarding these dates the district will send out notification.
The school nurse and administration will have spoken with all close contacts for each case by noon on Tuesday, November 24. If you do not receive a call or email then no one in your family was determined to be a close contact. While BHS will move to remote learning until 12.3.2020, only close contacts are required to quarantine. Those who are close contacts will receive information on next steps for quarantining and testing. This is a link on COVID-19 testing in Maine.
All planned co- and extracurricular activities and intramural offerings through BHS will be suspended until Thursday, December 3.
BHS will have bag lunches available during the shutdown days. Here is the request form: Lunch Request Form. Families can pick up the lunch at BHS on November 30, December 1, and December 2 between 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Please submit your form by 9:00 a.m. of each day.
As always we continue to ask all families to monitor students for any symptoms. The same is true for Brewer School Department staff. Individuals should call a health care provider if they develop symptoms. It is important to call a healthcare facility before showing up in person if symptoms appear.
People should stay home when they are sick. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that ranges from mild to severe. It can be more severe in adults 60 years and older and in those with underlying conditions. The virus mainly spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and an uninfected person breathes in the virus. Signs and symptoms include the following:
• fever or chills
• shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• muscle or body aches
• new loss of taste or smell
• sore throat
• congestion or runny nose
• nausea or vomiting or diarrhea
Please keep in mind that many things can cause respiratory illness, so students and staff should be up-to-date on influenza and routine vaccinations.
Questions for the school should be directed to school Principal Brent Slowikowski, Assistant Principal Scott Walker, nurses Cathy Sherman RN at BHS and Carol Warmuth RN at BCS, or Superintendent Gregg Palmer. Email addresses include first initials and last names followed by @breweredu.org
While I certainly didn’t look forward to having to send this letter, we have known since August that some temporary school closures would likely occur. Our plan is in place to initiate remote learning and then reopen the school as soon as the Maine CDC allows that to happen. We will have many more in-person learning days to come, and those will be safe and productive as we work our way through the 2020-2021 school year together.
Gregg Palmer, Superintendent of Schools