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Board of Education Votes to Make Masks Optional in MCPS
During its March 8 business meeting, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to make masks optional in all MCPS schools and facilities. This new guidance goes into effect immediately.
This action follows the state of Maryland’s decision to end its statewide mask mandate in schools and aligns with revised Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that no longer recommend universal mask-wearing in schools.
To maintain the safety of our staff and students, other COVID-19 mitigation strategies will continue, including in-school rapid and random testing, distribution of take-home test kits, improved HVAC systems and vaccination availability. Mask-wearing in MCPS will become optional indoors, outside and on school buses. Anyone who chooses to wear a mask may continue to do so, and your child may request a mask from their school if they want one.
Masks: On or Off, It is Just Me
While some will welcome the new mask policy, others may worry about the change. There will be students, teachers and administrators who wish to continue to mask in our schools. We must respect that. So, On or Off, It’s Just Me is a reminder that wearing masks may be an individual choice and we must respect each other's choices.
As a district, we expect our MCPS community to respect individual decisions about mask-wearing at this time. Our staff and students must model kindness, acceptance and inclusivity. MCPS will work with students, staff and families to promote a shared understanding of respecting each individual’s decision as valid.
MCPS will promote acceptance of masking choices by sharing this important message in posters, flyers, video public service announcements, community messages and through social media. Resources will be provided to schools to include in their own communications with students and families.
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Important Reminder: If you are sick, stay home. Any student or staff member who has COVID-19 like symptoms should remain home. Symptomatic individuals can only return to schools if free from COVID-19 symptoms, including fever of 100.4 or more, sore throat, cough, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of taste or smell. Use this daily health checklist to help you determine if you are healthy enough to come to school and work.
Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines Remain the Same
Current guidelines governing quarantine and isolation for both students and staff for positive COVID-19 cases have not changed. The policy is five days if certain health conditions are met. This aligns with the recommendations of the CDC, the Maryland Department of Health and the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
Learn more here https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/coronavirus/quarantine.aspx
As a reminder, vaccination is the best tool to fight COVID-19 and keep our schools safe for all our students. Children ages 5 and older are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. If your child is eligible but not yet vaccinated against COVID-19, you can find out how here https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/Coronavirus/Vaccinations/
Montgomery County Public Schools will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 data from the CDC, in collaboration with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, and revisit the issue of masks in school buildings, facilities and on school buses, if needed.
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