Important Message
from the MCPS School System
Medical Officer

Dear MCPS Community,

Last week, we saw an increase in classroom outbreaks of COVID-19. While the overall Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Community Risk Level is LOW for Montgomery County, we should remain vigilant about preventing the spread of COVID-19, as well as other respiratory viruses, including influenza and RSV. There are a few things we can do to promote health in our school community:

  1. Continue basic health hygiene practices. This includes good hand-washing, respiratory hygiene (covering coughs or sneezes), cleaning and disinfection of shared surfaces, and staying home when sick. These actions are more important than ever, going into cold and flu season, and as we spend more time together indoors.
  2. Prepare for the upcoming flu season. We are already seeing cases of influenza in the United States. Experts predict more cases of flu compared to last year, when safety measures for COVID-19 that also prevent flu were more common, and because we may have less shared immunity after a couple of lighter flu years. Basic health hygiene practices help prevent flu. The flu vaccine reduces the risk of getting the flu and having severe symptoms from a flu infection. It is available for free for anyone older than 6 months, and is especially important for people at increased risk for flu complications.
  3. Continue to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school community.
    • Vaccination is still our most effective tool for preventing serious complications, hospitalization or death due to COVID-19. The new COVID-19 boosters are designed to protect against the latest Omicron subvariants and are available at county-sponsored clinics including school-based vaccine clinics, or at retail pharmacies or other locations. As the benefit of vaccines can decrease over time, boosters are especially important for people at increased risk of complications due to COVID-19.
    • Staff and students should undergo COVID-19 testing if they develop possible symptoms of COVID-19, or after a suspected or confirmed exposure to a close contact with COVID-19. Please report all positive test results for staff and students by using the MCPS online tool and follow CDC guidelines for isolation and exposure.
    • At this time, wearing a mask in MCPS buildings and facilities is optional, unless required by quarantine and isolation guidelines. Temporary masking and testing are used to prevent further spread when outbreaks are identified at school, as an alternative to home quarantine. We continue to consider other options when individuals cannot safely or consistently wear a mask in these situations. Our community also supports all individuals who choose to wear a mask at any risk level for their own health reasons, or to protect another person.

We continue to monitor health data trends closely at the county and district level with our public health partners. Thank you for your help in keeping our MCPS community healthy and ready for in-person learning, and for a wonderful school year together.


Patricia Kapunan, M.D., MPH
MCPS Medical Officer

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Montgomery County Public Schools