COVID-19 Information → Quarantine and Contact Tracing
BEGINNING NOV. 8, 2021
The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) revised school quarantine guidance on Oct. 27. If certain criteria are met, students may not have to quarantine, or may be asked to quarantine for a reduced period of time. This new guidance is expected to reduce the number of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students required to quarantine and participate in virtual learning.
Based on the guidance from MDH and MSDE, and in collaboration with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), there will now be two categories for no quarantine or a shortened quarantine period for close contacts of an individual who tests positive with COVID-19. Close contacts are individuals who are less than 6 feet from someone who tests positive for a cumulative total of 15 minutes over the course of 24 hours, or less than 3 feet in a classroom setting.
Quarantine Decision Flowchart
Diagrama de flujo para decisiones sobre las cuarentenas
Symptomatic individuals with a positive COVID-19 test must quarantine for 10 days, self-monitor for 14 days, and 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. As before, the quarantine guidance only applies to unvaccinated individuals. Asymptomatic vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine, as has been the case throughout this school year.
MCPS follows the recommendations and guidance of DHHS and School Health Services regarding the need to isolate and quarantine students due to a positive COVID test or exposure.
Following CDC guidelines, MCPS staff work with classroom and school staff to gather information, including seating charts, classroom activities, lunch and recess contacts, and identifies close contacts who need to quarantine.
A letter is sent to all families of students who are required to quarantine and provides information on monitoring for symptoms, when to seek medical care, who to contact if they test positive or develop symptoms during quarantine, the length of quarantine and return date, free testing and vaccination sites in the county, and information regarding further contact by the Department of Health.
See the letter templates:
MCPS is in the process of hiring 10 additional contact tracers to assist and support schools with identifying close contacts.