MCPS to Share Updated Covid-19 Procedures on April 15th

In a community message sent out last week, MCPS stated the following regarding Covid-19 procedures. “As we head into spring break, please note that MCPS has not officially changed COVID-19 procedures. COVID, flu and norovirus are still circulating so remember healthy habits when traveling and gathering over the break. MCPS continues to follow the five-day isolation period for COVID-19 and will announce updated procedures after the break, effective April 15.”

This is the latest available on the MCPS website:

“On March 1, 2024, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new recommendations for common respiratory infections, including influenza (flu), RSV, and COVID-19. The CDC has now combined recommendations for common viruses, since basic strategies for prevention and treatment are the same. Importantly, the new guidance changes some practices related to COVID-19, including the minimum 5-day isolation period.

  1. When will MCPS switch from its current COVID-19 procedures to the new CDC guidance?

    • Official MCPS processes will be published after Spring Break and will be effective April 15. As we align with the CDC’s new recommendations, we must also incorporate state and local health authorities’ input, and plan for how to implement guidance for higher-risk community members.
    • The Maryland Department of Health and Maryland State Department of Education released updated joint guidance on March 15, 2024, with these specific recommendations for schools:
      • Schools should transition to the new symptom-based strategy for deciding when to return to work and school when sick with a common respiratory infection, instead of using a specific number of days, or based on a specific diagnosis (e.g., of COVID-19).
      • Schools are still required to report outbreaks of COVID-19, influenza and RSV to the local department of health and may use additional prevention measures when outbreaks occur
      • School health suites and clinics, and health care staff, may have different requirements, based on state and local guidance for healthcare settings
  2. CDC Guidance: What has not changed?

    • Core health strategies like immunizations, good hygiene (hand washing, respiratory etiquette, and cleaning practices), and steps to clean air are critically important prevention against disease transmission.
    • People with symptoms of a respiratory infection should stay home and away from others when sick and can act to prevent further spread of infection.
    • People at high risk for complications from a respiratory infection may need extra precautions and should get tested and treated quickly if they develop symptoms, to prevent severe illness.
  3. CDC Guidance: What has changed in the recommendations?

    • People with a COVID-19 infection do not need to stay home for the previously recommended, minimum 5 day period. Instead, the “stay at home” period is based on symptoms.
    • People with any common respiratory virus infection can return to work or school when their symptoms are improvingand they are fever free, without using medication for fever. Both must be true for at least 24 hours.
    • When returning to normal activities, people recovering from a respiratory virus should take extra steps to prevent spreading the infection for the next 5 days.
  4. How do the new recommendations protect people with risk factors for severe illness from respiratory infections?

    • The new recommendations emphasize that prevention strategies recommended for everyone are especially important for those at risk for more severe illness and their close contacts.
    • The new guidance includes special information sections for older adults, young children, people with weakened immune systems and certain disabilities, and pregnant people.
    • These sections describe the increased risks and give more detailed recommendations for prevention, treatments, and considerations when sick with a respiratory virus..
  5. Why did the recommendations change?

    • The CDC states that effective vaccines and treatments now available for COVID-19, flu, and RSV prompted the change. For COVID-19, since most people have some immunity from infection and/or immunization, we now see decreasing trends in hospitalizations, deaths, and serious complications. Though COVID-19 infection is still common, the proportion of people experiencing serious illness is lower.
    • The new recommendations are meant to be easier to understand and to follow, since they provide simpler advice based on symptoms, for multiple common respiratory viruses.
  6. Does this mean we no longer need to be concerned about COVID-19?

    • No, it does not! Like flu and RSV, COVID-19 can cause serious illness, even though many people will have only mild symptoms.
    • COVID-19 also differs from flu and RSV in important ways:
      • COVID-19 is more contagious than flu and people may be infectious for a longer period of time after developing symptoms
      • COVID-19 continues to cause more deaths than influenza and RSV
      • Though new cases of long COVID seem to be decreasing, this post-COVID condition has affected >15% of Americans. Long COVID is important to prevent because it can cause serious and prolonged symptoms, and experts are still learning about it.
  7. Why is testing for specific viruses still needed, if the recommendations are now the same?

    • For COVID-19 and flu, knowing the cause of a respiratory infection determines what treatment can be used to help prevent severe illness. Treatment can also prevent the virus from spreading to others by making symptoms milder and last for a shorter time.
    • This is especially important for people at higher risk for severe illness and their close contacts.”

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Now in its 17th year, the Kensington Day of the Book Festival is a family-friendly street festival featuring 150+ renowned authors, poets, and literary organizations. Enjoy live music on five stages, special guest speakers, military veteran writers and comedians, poetry readings, cookbook demos, children's program, and much more.

Admission is free, and attendees will also be able to explore a marketplace of books and food offerings from local vendors.

Not your average book festival! This festival offers something for everyone!

17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Sunday, April 21, 2024, 11am-4pm (held rain or shine!)

Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895

Instagram: @kensingtonbookfestival

Contact: Elisenda Sola-Sole, Festival Director

[email protected]

301-949-9416 (text preferred)

FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival

Get ready to experience the vibrant colors, tantalizing flavors, and infectious rhythms of the Caribbean at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival! Hosted by RHU LLC, this exciting festival is set to take place on May 18, 2024, at the picturesque 16700 Barnesville Rd in Boyds, MD.

Step into a world where the Caribbean spirit comes alive! From 12:00 PM onwards, immerse yourself in a sensory journey that celebrates the unique culture, cuisine, and music of the Caribbean. Whether you're an African American, a Reggae or Soca music enthusiast, a wine lover, or part of the vibrant Caribbean diaspora, this festival promises to delight and captivate you in every way.

Let the enticing aromas of mouthwatering Caribbean dishes tantalize your taste buds. Feast on traditional delicacies prepared by expert chefs, showcasing the rich and diverse culinary heritage of the Caribbean. Indulge in flavorful jerk chicken, succulent seafood, and delectable plantain dishes that will transport you straight to the islands.

Accompanying the culinary extravaganza is a carefully curated selection of premium wines, ensuring the perfect pairing for your palate. Sip on fine wines from renowned vineyards, each sip a reflection of the Caribbean's vibrant spirit. Discover new flavors, expand your wine knowledge, and savor unforgettable moments with every glass.

As the sun sets, get ready to groove to the infectious rhythms of Caribbean music. Feel the pulsating beats of reggae, soca, dancehall, and calypso, moving your body to the lively melodies. Live performances by talented musicians and performers will keep the energy high, ensuring a night of unforgettable entertainment.

Don't miss this opportunity to embrace the Caribbean spirit and celebrate the arrival of spring in style! Tickets are available on AllEvents, so secure your spot today. Join us at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival, where cultures collide and unforgettable memories are made.



2 NIGHT Camping packages available: RV/CAMPER $200 | TENTS $150 Starting on Friday May 17 @ 5pm | 30 RV SPACES | 30+ TENT SPACES



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