In case you missed it: Message from the COVID-19 community

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This COVID-19 update from the MCPS Chief Medical Officer was emailed to the community on Friday, September 16.

Here’s an update on COVID-19 as we wrap up the third week of school. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Community COVID-19 Risk Level for Montgomery County is “low”, we see an expected modest increase in positive COVID-19 cases reported to MCPS, after summer travel and return to school. The highest number of positive tests to date was reported last week, after Labor Day weekend. Fortunately, fewer positive cases are being reported this week.

Thank you to our staff and families for continuing to test when showing symptoms or after possible exposure, using the online tool to report positive COVID-19 test results and to follow CDC isolation guidelines. Basic health strategies like staying home when sick and washing your hands well are also important to limit the spread of infections. As our schedules get busier, remember the basics: rest, good nutrition, and physical activity all help students stay healthy and ready to learn.

Remember that although masking is optional, masks are temporarily required in certain situations:

  • Students coming to the health room for an assessment of possible symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Staff or students who test positive for COVID-19 at school or work.
  • Staff or students infected with COVID-19, after completing five days of isolation, who feel well enough to return to school or work (masks are worn until day 10).
  • Individuals exposed during an outbreak, as an alternative to 10-day quarantine. Exposed staff and students do not need to self-quarantine as long as they have no symptoms and can safely wear a mask for 10 days after exposure.

Children who cannot safely wear a mask for health reasons, young age, or other factors may need other prevention strategies in the event of an outbreak. Regardless of the level of risk, we respect an individual’s decision to wear a mask for their own health reasons or to protect another person.

Vaccination remains our most effective tool for preventing serious complications or death from COVID-19, and can reduce the risk of infection. New updated COVID-19 boosters which also include protection against the latest Omicron sub-variants are now available at county-sponsored clinicsincluding school vaccination clinics or at retail pharmacies or other places.

Vigilance, preparation and prevention are necessary to support our commitment to safe in-person learning. We continue to closely monitor data trends at the county and school level with our public health partners, and encourage everyone to engage in preventative measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Thanks again for your help and commitment to keeping our MCPS community healthy.

Sincerely,

Patricia Kapunan, MD, MPH

MCPS Medical Officer


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