Reporting COVID Positive Results and Response to a Positive Case:

Positive cases will be evaluated on a case by case basis following guidelines from the DOE Standard Operating Procedure and with consultation with the CDC as needed.

Reporting COVID Positive Results

Any member of the Portland Public Schools community (staff, students and families) should report positive cases immediately to a school or district administrator or a school nurse immediately upon confirmation of a positive test. Reporting promptly during nights or weekends is critical, as timely communication will be key to reducing spread. Any report made to an administrator will be immediately reported to Xavier Botana or Aaron Townsend who will coordinate with nurse supervisor Tina Vellieux. Staff and families can call 207-874-8110 after school hours or email

The information that will be needed for reports is:

  • First and last name of positive case

  • Date of birth

  • Town of residency

  • Phone number (or phone number of parent/guardian if a minor)

Response To A COVID Positive Case

The CDC will initiate an investigation when it learns of a confirmed case of COVID 19 within a school. If the school learns before the CDC, the school nurse and/or administrator will alert the superintendent and the Maine DOE school nurse consultant, who is the primary contact for schools to Maine CDC.

Specials, recess, cafeteria exposure will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the school nurse and administrators.

After-school and extra-curricular activities will be assessed by school staff. Recommendations will be based on the nature of the activity, set up and the mitigation strategies in place.

Infectious Period: Please note that the infectious period of COVID-19 is 48 hours before the onset of symptoms. Recommendations for quarantines and classroom closures will be decided based on possible exposures during the infectious period and the most current CDC guidance.

Cleaning: Cleaning procedures will follow CDC protocol.

Testing: PPS and Maine CDC are partnering with local agencies to provide testing for students and staff after a positive case is identified in pooled testing. Additionally, testing can be procured through a primary care provider. Symptomatic staff and close contacts should not come to school expecting to be tested since our nurse coordinator has to sign off on how tests provided by the state are to be used.

Vaccines: Students age 5 and above are eligible for COVID -19 vaccination. Talk with your school nurse if you need help finding a COVID-19 vaccine for your student.

  • Students, teachers, or staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated until they meet the U.S. CDC criteria for release for isolation. Maine CDC case investigators release COVID-19 cases from isolation.

  • Any student exhibiting symptoms will be assessed by the school nurse and will wait in an isolation area for dismissal.

  • Nurses will communicate concerns about COVID symptoms to parents/guardians and will discuss the need for the student to follow up with the primary care provider. If a student does not have a primary care provider, the nurse will discuss options with parents, including with parents how to become enrolled at Greater Portland Health. Parents are asked to stay in close contact with the nurse and will be asked to sign a release of information for the nurse to communicate with the provider's office.

  • If notified of a positive case (test positive or presumed positive by provider), nurses and administrators will work with the CDC to determine next steps.

  • Admin will notify the Central Office.

  • Close contacts to cases in schools will not be required to quarantine. The new MDOE guidance says that in schools that have a universal mask mandate, students who are in contact with a positive case do NOT have to quarantine. Until now, that was true if the student was vaccinated or participated in pool testing. However, we have a universal indoor masking policy at the Portland Public Schools, so no close contacts in our schools will be required to quarantine moving forward. Please continue to model proper mask wearing and enforce this expectation (see some masking “dos” and “don’ts” from the CDC).

  • Nurses will track positive students (who will need to be home in isolation. Only the CDC releases people from isolation).

  • The school community will be notified of a positive case while maintaining privacy of the affected person.

  • People who have been released from COVID-19 isolation may continue to test positive for COVID-19 on molecular and antigen tests for up to 90 days after symptom onset but are not considered infectious.

Outbreak Status and Closure Criteria

The CDC and Maine Department of Education recently updated the criteria for designating a school outbreak. Beginning in January 2022, the Maine CDC will open an epidemiological investigation in a school when at least 15% of students and staff are absent due to illness. This approach is consistent with Maine CDC’s approach to other communicable diseases, including other respiratory illnesses.

If the CDC determines there is an outbreak, they work with PPS staff, including the school physician, school nurse and central administration, to review situations and to determine the risk of in-school transmission. School outbreak status does not necessarily warrant school closure and can be evaluated on a case-by case basis. Maine CDC may, however, recommend suspending some or even all in-person extracurricular activities for the duration of the outbreak.

At any time, PPS may decide to close a school, grade level, cohort, or pod for a period of time. The most appropriate closure will be determined through evaluation of where the cases are in a building, the timeline of cases, and other relevant factors, such as:

  • Staffing- A school may need to close for a period of time if there is not enough staff to maintain school operations.

  • Number of cases and close contacts- The number of school close contacts for a positive case will be considered. Depending on the overall number of positive cases in a school, cases that do not have school close contacts may not be considered as a reason for school closure.

  • Links in cases- If there are links that suggest transmission of the virus in school, a school, cohort, pod, or grade level may be closed until the end of the quarantine period for the most recent case with school exposure.

Outbreaks will be closed after 14 consecutive days with reports of less than 15% absenteeism. If a school on day 15 has greater than 15% absenteeism, then a new outbreak would be opened.

Free COVID-19 Testing for Students & Staff

Thanks to our collaboration with Greater Portland Health, the district is able to offer COVID-19 testing free of cost for any students and staff who report COVID symptoms. Testing will be arranged through your school nurse if you call in and report symptoms that meet criteria for testing.

The clinic is located in the lower level of the administration building and is open from 9:30 to 11:00 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. In order to preserve staff (and student) confidentiality, all tests will be scheduled so no walk in testing will be available. Test results will normally be available within 24 hours. Staff should not return to work, even if COVID -19 test results are negative, until they are feeling better, respiratory symptoms have improved and they have been free of fever for 24 hours (without taking fever reducing medicine). Anyone who is ill should contact their healthcare provider.

We are happy to provide this service. Please note that staff can choose to go to another testing location arranged through their primary care provider or another testing site. If you select to do that, please be aware that if you let them know that you are a school employee which is considered an essential service, your test results should be prioritized. Local testing sites can be found here Our school testing site is not available evenings or weekends.

Also, if an employee tests positive or is presumed positive by their physician, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services provides support for isolation and quarantine if living arrangements are not conducive to mitigating the risk of spreading the virus. Because these services do not kick in until a presumed or positive result, we will also consider supporting short term housing alternatives through our Families in Crisis Fund. To access that benefit, contact Maureen Clancy at the Multilingual and Multicultural Center,

At-home Covid-19 tests are available for purchase. While these tests are useful to self- monitor, please be aware these tests are not accepted at school if testing is required for travel, exposure, or symptoms. If you or your student needs a COVID test, check out: or ask your school nurse about our PPS testing clinic for students and staff.

BinaxNOW rapid testing will be available in all schools.

Pooled Testing- Pooled testing for K through 6th grade will be administered through the state funded program. See the pooled testing page for more information.