Howard County Public Schools canceled all athletics and in-person extracurricular activities due to what the Maryland school system called an “alarming” rise in COVID-19 cases since Thanksgiving.
In a letter sent on Wednesday, Howard County Public Schools Superintendent Michael J. Martirano wrote that the following in-person activities are being suspended immediately through Jan. 15, with a re-evaluation on Jan. 7:
- Athletic practices and contests
- Theater rehearsals and performances
- School concerts and performances
- Extracurricular activities
- Field trips
All activities that can move to virtual participation may do so. Schools will also work with PTAs to switch in-person meetings and events to a virtual format.
Martirano said the move comes after positive COVID-19 cases rose at an alarming rate.
On Nov. 18, the seven-day total of positive COVID cases in Howard County schools was 75, with 1,151 students and 34 staff members in quarantine. As of Wednesday, the system was nearing 300 positive COVID cases in schools just in the last three days.
In addition, it currently has 3,720 students and 146 staff members in quarantine.
“Several months ago as we were planning for this school year, I was very clear: Not only do we want to start the 2021-2022 school year with fully in-person education for the majority of our students, we want to keep it that way for the entire year. Not for two weeks. Not for two quarters. But the entire year,” Martirano wrote. “This decision has been made with that singular priority in mind to keep our students in school by implementing as many possible mitigation strategies to assist.”
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