Students and staff asked to test before returning to the classroom
It’s the end of spring break for Montgomery County Public Schools, and across the county, students and staff are preparing to return to the classrooms. However, before they do, they are asked to send in the results of a rapid home kit provided by the school system.
After the January debacle, where there was difficulty in finding coverage for classrooms and bus routes, MCPS is taking steps to ensure a safe return after the break. The goal is to complete the school year without moving back to quarantine learning or reinstating restrictions.
Unlike in January, when testing kits were largely unavailable, MCPS provided every student with two test kits before spring break. In addition, MCPS and individual schools sent reminders via text messages, phone calls, and emails reminding families to please take a self-test on Monday night and report positive test results through a provided link.
If students test positive, display symptoms, or are sick, they are asked to stay home.
However, with optional masking in place and parents sharing on social media platforms that they will not administer the home test, teachers are concerned about a surge in positive cases after the break. Others are calling it a “Spring OutBreak.”
As of April 15th, Maryland Vaccine Hunters posted a graph on social media showing Montgomery County displaying the highest number of positive cases within the state and the only county with a “high” transmission rate with 117.83 new cases per 100K residents over the course of seven days.
Teachers are hoping that families are testing with the kits provided by the school system, reporting positive cases, and having students stay home if they are sick. But, as restrictions continue to lift across the country, teachers share concerns about less masking and the rise in cases.
However, masks will remain optional in schools across Montgomery County. With the availability of test kits and face coverings, MCPS continues to push forward with in-person instruction.
If you are in need of a home self-test kit Montgomery County Public Libraries have kits and masks available to the public. If you have children in MCPS and you have not received your test kit or school provided masks, call your child's school and request them.
What are your thoughts about testing before the return to school? Should masks remain optional? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.