Students in Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools will attend classes virtually when the new school year begins, with plans to bring them back in the classroom sometime this fall.
But what happens when a student in Maryland’s largest school system tests positive for coronavirus?
That was one of the most popular questions at a town hall with Montgomery County Public Schools officials on Wednesday night.
“If we are informed of it first, then we will immediately contact the health department; both the local and the state level,” said Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith.
“Children can transmit the disease,” said Montgomery County’s Health Officer and Chief of Public Health Services Dr. Travis Gayles.
Gayles explained the protocols in place if a student or staff member tests positive while attending school during a board of education meeting earlier this week.
The county’s health department and disease research teams will investigate where the person went during school hours and with whom they interacted.
“Based upon that information, we will decide that these folks are considered to be high risk. They need to be quarantined for a period of time and recommend them get follow-up testing,” said Gayles.
The school would deep clean all surfaces that may have been exposed to an infected person.
Depending on the severity of the coronavirus exposure, the school system would have the option of shutting down the building entirely.
Public schools the Montgomery County begin classes on Aug. 31.
On Saturday, MCPS announced a recovery plan for the upcoming school year.
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For now, student will learn remotely with a phased approach of bringing students back to campus as the semester progresses.
A meeting on Aug. 6 is expected to determine when students will be brought back for in-person learning “if the conditions and the trends continue to stay as they are now,” Superintendent Smith said on Wednesday.