MCPS COVID-19 Outbreak Measures & FAQ

Per Montgomery County Public Schools: “As new cases of COVID-19 increase locally, we have seen outbreaks occurring in multiple schools across the county. Temporary outbreak precautions for individual classrooms where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly helps prevent spread to vulnerable individuals and to the rest of school.” Check out the FAQ below, per MCPS:

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 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 most significant change is that students and staff members no longer have to use the online reporting tool and can inform their school or program about an absence due to COVID-19. We continue to rely on the same 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 after a case investigation.

If the online self-reporting tool for COVID-19 has been retired, how will MCPS know how COVID-19 is affecting the school community? Schools collect attendance data, including the reason for absences. MCPS will rely on school reports for outbreak monitoring and examine trends in illness-related absences at the system and school level. Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services continues to track county-level COVID-19 case rates and hospital metrics and conduct wastewater surveillance.

Masks

Has MCPS changed its policy about face coverings? The policy has been the same since March 2022, when the MCPS Board of Education voted that masks would be “optional unless required in accordance with quarantine and isolation guidelines”. In August 2022, the CDC introduced temporary masking as an alternative to quarantine for people exposed to COVID-19. Since the repeal of the universal mask mandate in March 2022, MCPS has not required masking community-wide or for any situation other than isolation (for individuals with a new COVID-19 infection) or temporarily within a high-risk cohort to reduce transmission if there has been an outbreak in that cohort.

What is the MCPS policy for face coverings?

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

  • Masks are optional, with rare exceptions. The exceptions are:

    • Individuals who have been recently diagnosed with COVID-19 who are returning to work and school after day 5 through day 10. Day “0” is the first day of symptoms, or the date of the positive test, if there are no symptoms. Staff or students can end the masking period early after two negative COVID-19 tests.

    • In outbreak situations, for staff or students have been exposed exposed to multiple cases in their classroom to limit further spread. Masking is one of multiple temporary prevention measures that may limit the spread in a classroom where staff or students have this increased risk for exposure and transmission. “Outbreaks” are defined by the Maryland Department of Health and are considered if three or more positive COVID-19 cases occur in a group over a specific period of time. A case investigation is conducted to determine if the cases are “epidemiologically linked”. Not all situations with three or more cases are considered outbreaks. Outbreak measures are only introduced if the cases suggest ongoing classroom transmission and pose an exposure risk to other individuals sharing the same confined indoor space. Only all-day classrooms or activities where staff and students spend long hours together are considered for elevated precautions.

    • The Department of Health and Human Services determines masking rules for health rooms and school-based health clinics. In health rooms or school-based health clinics, students with active respiratory symptoms may be requested to mask by health care staff, while being cared for in the health room.

  • In outbreak situations, surgical or KN95 masks will be available for staff and student use.

What if my student is too young to wear a mask or cannot do so because of a health condition or developmental disability?

  • Students will not be required to wear a mask if unable to safely or consistently do so due to young age, a health condition, or a developmental disability.

  • Masking is not recommended as a prevention measure in pre-K or other early childhood programs.

Can my student be excluded from school for not wearing a mask?

  • Students will not be excluded from school solely for not wearing a mask as a preventive health measure.

  • Exclusion criteria for communicable diseasesestablished by the Maryland Department of Health still apply for individuals with a specific symptom (e.g., fever) or an active infection (e.g., chickenpox).

Where can I learn more about using face coverings to prevent respiratory infections?

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

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

The FAQ page can be accessed in the link. The newly approved COVID-19 updated vaccine will be available in our area in the next few weeks. For information about COVID-19, influenza and RSV vaccine availability, refer to Vaccines.Gov.

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Karen joined the Well-Paid Maids team as a cleaner in January 2021, and she was recently promoted to an operations manager! This well-deserved promotion is part of Well-Paid Maids' effort to deliver better customer service with responses to phone calls and emails seven days a week. To celebrate Karen's promotion, we caught up with her to learn more about her time at Well-Paid Maids, the area's only certified living-wage cleaning company.

 1. Why Well-Paid Maids?

Karen: I saw the company was paying a living wage and had great benefits. Also, they were very flexible with my schedule, especially since I have kids.

 2. How has it been working at Well-Paid Maids?

Karen: I feel very appreciated at the company. This is the first job where I feel I'm able to speak about any issue and that management will support me.

 3. How has working at Well-Paid Maids benefitted you?

Karen: Because Well-Paid Maids pays a living wage, I can now spend more time with my kids and not work double shifts like I did at my old job.

 4. How do you plan to spend your PTO this year?

Karen: I look forward to traveling to El Salvador to visit my family there.

 5. How would you describe Well-Paid Maids as an employer in three words?

Appreciated, valued and opportunity

Submit your own Announcement here.

Washington City Paper is hosting its annual Best of D.C. contest -- and Well-Paid Maids is eyeing the Best Maid Service category. If you missed it: Well-Paid Maids has secured first place for the past three years. Can you help us snag gold again? Simply go to the ballot and write in your vote for the best maid service. In case you need a refresher before you vote, Well-Paid Maids is the only certified living-wage cleaning company in the D.C. area. We pay our cleaners, who are W-2 employees, at least $24 an hour and offer benefits like insurance, 24 paid days off per year and more. Voting is open until June 10 at 5 p.m., and the winner will be announced July 18. (We'll keep you posted!) Thank you for your support -- and if you still haven't booked a spring cleaning yet, now is the time!

Submit your own Announcement here.

Movie being filmed in McLean, VA, needs your support

A local community movie is filming in our area in June and needs contributions!

Local actors, teens, teachers, housewives, and retired residences are trying to make this film happen but we need your help.

This is an educational short story about teens learning how to navigate when they don't feel accepted by their friends and what to do to find acceptance. Yet this film isn't just for teens. In your life have you ever felt like you weren't accepted??

Come be a part of the audience for this film! Invite your friends. Be a part of this film being produced right here in our area.

This is a social impact film that will show locally and internationally at film festivals in 2025 and also at colleges.

More information can be found here. DONATE TODAY:

https://www.filmindependent.org/sponsored-projects/ultimate-bias/

https://www.silvanomarifilms.com/jis

This is a not-for-profit film and donations are tax-deductible.

Free Community Father-Daughter Dance

Fathers and father figures, create unforgettable memories with your daughter at our free community father-daughter dance on June 1st, from 6-8 pm. Hosted outdoors at Olney Baptist Church. This event offers a delightful outdoor experience complete with a DJ spinning tunes, interactive games, a charming photo booth, delicious treats, and exciting raffle prizes. Fathers/father figures and daughters of all ages are warmly welcomed to share in this special evening together. Join us for an evening of joy, laughter, and cherished moments!

In the spirit of giving back to our community, we are partnering with Quest to Feed Montgomery to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those in need. We kindly ask each attendee to bring along a non-perishable food item to donate during the event. Every contribution, no matter how small, will go a long way in supporting families facing food insecurity in our area.

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