After a surge in COVID-19 cases, some schools in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, shifted to partial or entirely virtual learning this week with most students set to return to classrooms on Monday, Jan. 24 or Tuesday, Jan. 25.
The school system’s superintendent, George Arlotto, announced the decision at a board of education meeting on Wednesday night.
If the number of students and staff with COVID-19 cases reaches 5%, then the county’s department of health reviews the transmission trends and determines whether schools need to temporarily convert to virtual learning.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the county’s schools is posted online. According to data from the school system, Windsor Farm Elementary School has 22 students with active cases of COVID-19, the highest number of active student cases in any of the schools shifting online.
The following schools started virtual learning on Thursday and are scheduled to shift back to in person classes on Tuesday.
- Crofton Meadows Elementary School
- Sunset Elementary School
- Monarch Glen Burnie (Grades 6-8 converted to virtual learning)
- Windsor Farm Elementary School
- Ferndale Early Education Center
Glendale Elementary School went online a day earlier than the other schools, and the county said those students will go back to school on Monday. The school has 17 active students cases and two active staff cases, according to the dashboard.
There are 1,428 Anne Arundel County students and 71 staff members with active COVID-19 cases, as of Friday morning. In total, there have been 7,385 student cases and 1,232 staff cases in the school system.
The surge in cases comes weeks after the county’s schools adjusted quarantine protocols so that those who are test positive for COVID-19 and symptom-free after five days can return to school, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended in its guidance.
Arlotto also outlined three possible circumstances that would end the mask mandate during the Anne Arundel Board of Education meeting. The mask mandate in schools could end if:
At least 80% of county population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as reported by the Maryland Department of Health.
At least 80% of the students and staff at a school facility are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The county has sustained 14 consecutive days of moderate or low COVID-19 transmission rates, per the CDC data.
But those parents or students hoping the school system will ditch mask mandates shouldn’t hold their breath.
The Maryland Department of Health reports that 67.54% of Anne Arundel County residents are fully vaccinated, far below the 80% of vaccinated residents needed to end masking in schools.
The school system doesn’t have a database sharing data on how many students are vaccinated, though they collected data on which employees opted to get the jab.
Coronavirus transmission is in the high range in Anne Arundel County, according to the CDC.
Parent can find more information about virtual learning on the school system’s website.
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