Montgomery Co. schools scheduled to reopen in person Monday

There’s no change to the start of the spring semester in Montgomery County, Maryland, schools.

The school system said all in-person learning would go as scheduled on Monday. And before school starts, parents need to do their part, a news release said.

This includes continuing to report positive tests to the schools, even over the winter break; getting a COVID-19 test before returning to school; keeping children home if they have symptoms and getting them tested; giving permission for in-school testing.

“The decision to open all schools was made after careful consideration and ongoing collaboration with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services,” Montgomery County schools said.

Other mitigation measures are also being planned, including giving at-home rapid test kits for all students and staff over the next two weeks. Staff members will also get KN-95 masks during the week of Jan. 3, and there will be an increase in screening tests for those who do not have symptoms, focusing on schools with higher rates.

Quarantine guidelines remain the same until further guidance from the Maryland Department of Health. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance, which cuts isolation restrictions for asymptomatic Americans who catch the coronavirus from 10 to five days and similarly shortens the time that close contacts need to quarantine. This means those who test positive will continue to isolate for 10 days. However, the school system said that the Maryland health department has not yet adopted these changes.

Cheryl Horn, a kindergarten teacher at Burning Tree Elementary School in Bethesda, is concerned about the decision.

“I know people who are going to be keeping their kids home for the first two weeks regardless of what the county says because they’re worried about their children’s exposure,” Horn told WTOP’s Kate Ryan.

Horn favors the approach being taken in neighboring Prince George’s County, which plans to go virtual until mid-January.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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