Rycc Smith welcomes Montello Elementary School students as they board his bus outside the Lewiston, Maine school in Jan. 2021.  Credit: Russ Dillingham / Sun Journal via AP

More COVID-19 cases are being detected in Maine schools as the virus has accelerated across the state, at the same time that most students and teachers are returning to learning post-holidays.

Infections reported among teachers and students do not necessarily mean the virus is transmitting within school buildings. As of Thursday, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has not identified any school as a site of an active outbreak.

However, a school is now defined as experiencing an outbreak only if the school reports that more than 15 percent of the population is absent. Previously, it was if the Maine CDC identified at least three connected cases between individuals from different households in a 14-day period.

Overall, 1,085 cases have been reported in Maine schools over a 30-day period, the Maine CDC reported, while 3 schools are considered to be in an outbreak.

That’s a slight drop from the 1,410 cases reported during a 30-day period ending on March 11, and a drastic drop from the 3,178 cases reported over a 30-day period ending on March 4.

This page will be updated weekly on Thursdays as new cases are reported by the Maine Department of Education.