Message from the MCPS Medical Officer Regarding COVID-19

Montgomery County Public Schools released the following community message on Wednesday, September 6:
“Dear MCPS Community,
In the past several weeks, there has been an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the community. Since last Friday, more students and staff members have reported new cases of COVID-19, with classroom outbreaks occurring in a few schools across the county. This rise in COVID-19 cases is not unexpected, as our community gathers together, following a modest summer surge. Following established procedures, schools will directly notify staff and families of students in a classroom with an outbreak of 3 or more cases.

It is important that everyone continue to practice healthy habits, such as good handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick. These vital health strategies and vaccination are key prevention measures we use every day to prevent the spread of illness in our schools. For COVID-19, other measures may be temporarily introduced during outbreaks, including screening testing, distancing, and masking to control spread in a specific space where transmission is high. Multiple strategies are used, and students who cannot safely and consistently mask due to young age, a medical condition, or developmental disability are not required to do so.

In school, identifying and responding to outbreaks early is a key step to ensure staff and students are ready to teach and learn.

Thank you for your partnership and commitment to the health of our entire school community.

Patricia Kapunan, MD, MPH
Medical Officer


Where do I find information on COVID-19 procedures in Montgomery County Public Schools?

What guidance does MCPS follow to determine health and safety procedures for COVID-19?

MCPS follows CDC COVID-19 recommendations for K-12 schools, per joint guidance from the Maryland State Department of Education and Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and MDH’s school guide for Communicable Diseases.  Community health strategies are planned in coordination with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.

What is the MCPS policy for face coverings?

  • MCPS procedures including masking are described on the COVID-19 Information Portal

  • Masks are not mandatory in most situations.  The exceptions are:

    • Individuals who have been recently diagnosed with COVID who are returning to work and school after day 5, per CDC guidelines they should wear a mask until day 10

    • In outbreak situations temporarily, for those exposed to multiple cases in their classroom. Masking is one of multiple mitigation strategies

What changes have been made to MCPS COVID-19 health procedures this school year?

The Back-to-School message on the Information Portal describes changes to COVID-19 school procedures for this school year. The biggest change is that students and staff members no longer have to use the online reporting tool, and can simply inform their school or program about an absence due to COVID-19.  We continue to rely on core health strategies to prevent infectious disease, and apply COVID-19 specific measures temporarily to limit spread in high risk situations or a suspected outbreak.

Where can I learn more about the use of face coverings to prevent respiratory infections?

Healthy Mask Mythbusters: Common Questions about Kids & Face Masks / Rompe mitos sobre la mascarilla: preguntas frecuentes sobre el uso del tapabocas en niños

CDC: COVID-19 – Use and Care of Masks / Cómo usar y cuidar las mascarillas

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