Prince George’s Co. students required to take COVID test before returning from spring break

Students in Prince George’s County, Maryland, will be required to take a coronavirus test and upload results before returning from spring break, the school system said in an email to families Wednesday.

Monica Goldson, the CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools, said all students will receive COVID-19 home test kits by the end of the week. Results must be shared before students are scheduled to return April 19.

The school system’s mask requirement will also remain in place, Goldson said.

“We are monitoring public health conditions in anticipation of lifting the policy by the end of this school year,” she said.

Prince George’s is currently the only school system in the D.C. region that still has a mask requirement in schools.

Goldson urged anyone eligible to get vaccinated and boosted.

Donna Christy, president of the Prince George’s County Education Association, said members welcomed the testing requirement.

“Anytime there’s a lot of travel and a time of year when you know people are going to be exploring beyond their regular neighborhoods, there’s the risk that there’s going to be a spike in COVID cases,” Christy said. “And so they are pleased that the school system is taking proactive measures to mitigate the possibility of an outbreak following the spring break.”

As for the mask requirement, Christy said there have been “mixed reviews,” with some teachers tired of wearing masks in class and others unbothered because students and staff may be immunocompromised or have medical conditions that put them at risk.

The county is reporting a rate of 25.51 cases per 100,000 people and is experiencing low community transmission, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

After spring break, Goldson said, parent volunteers will be allowed back into school buildings with proof of vaccination and a background check. Outdoor field trips will also be allowed, and spring concerts can be held as long as the school mask policy is followed.

Creative arts teachers, Christy said, had been seeking clarity on whether spring performances would be allowed.

“There’s been some concern from the creative arts teachers that athletics return to play, but our creative arts were not permitted to return to perform.” Christy said. “And there are a lot of students who are on track to pursue careers in the creative arts and they haven’t had the opportunity to show their skills and perform for their families and their community.”

High school prom will resume, though attendees are required to take a coronavirus test within 24 hours of the event and upload their results.

Indoor high school graduations, according to Goldson, will be held at the University of Maryland and Show Place Arena.

Goldson also urged parents to visit the school system’s website for information on its summer programming.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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