A sign on a Portland shop window advises customers masks are required for entry on Tuesday Dec. 28, 2021. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Bangor schools will require students, staff and visitors to wear masks starting Monday due to rising COVID cases in Penobscot County, Superintendent James Tager said Friday.

The school department will review U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data every Friday, and will return to optional masking if case loads decline to low or medium transmission levels in the county, Tager said.

Penobscot County had 616 new cases over the past week as of Thursday, indicating a high level of transmission, according to the CDC’s county tracker.

The return to a mask requirement that hasn’t been in effect since March comes as Maine has seen the nation’s highest COVID-19 transmission rate over the past week, and Penobscot County has seen a higher case rate than the state as a whole.

“All staff are being extra diligent in their work to ensure that all safety protocols are followed and that students can continue in-person learning, activities, and enjoy end of the school year celebrations,” Tager said.

“We ask for continued cooperation from our school families to adhere to our protocols; wear your mask when in schools, continue to wash your hands often, physically distance, and practice healthy hygiene.”

Bangor City Hall will also require masks starting Monday, city manager Debbie Laurie said.

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.