Bangor school officials say 5 of their schools have students and/or staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting at least 2 to go to remote learning.

According to the Bangor School Department's Facebook page, COVID-19 cases have been confirmed at Bangor High School, the William S. Cohen School, Fruit Street School, Downeast School, and Mary Snow School. WABI-TV reports there are 8 cases, in total, over the five schools.

Interim Superintendent of Schools Kathy Harris-Smedberg has made the decision to transition Bangor High School and the Cohen School to all-remote learning, for the time being. All other schools will continue with in-person learning. She said, in a release to parents, that the decisions about whether to allow children to go to school or keep them home have not been made in haste. Several considerations factor in to the decision, but the number one priority is keeping children and staff members safe. She is working with the Maine CDC, Bangor Public Health, State of Maine Health, and others to determine what is in the best interest of all involved.

Some of the considerations involve a rise in cases of domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health issues, and neglect in Maine households, since the onset of the pandemic. Parents are finding it challenging, and sometimes impossible, to hang onto their jobs while providing daycare for students who are not in school during the day. School officials are doing what they can to keep children safe, while allowing them to attend classes.

"Unfortunately," Harris-Smedberg said in a post on the department's Facebook page, "in the cases of BHS and WSCS, due to the number of staff having to quarantine, we do not have enough personnel for in-class instruction and supervision."

Updates on the situation will be posted on the department's Facebook page and website.

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