COVID-19 Information → Health and Safety Procedures
As schools reopen, the safety of students and staff remains the top priority of MCPS. MCPS continues to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In accordance with CDC guidance, MCPS will implement a multi-layer health and safety protocol that includes multiple strategies to protect school community members from COVID-19, including: use of masks/face coverings, vaccine promotion, enhanced sanitation, frequent hand-washing, improved ventilation, and quarantine and contact tracing in the event that a student or staff member tests positive. Specifically, MCPS will implement the following health and safety practices in schools, offices and on school buses.
UPDATED: March 9, 2022-On Tuesday March 8, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to make masks (face coverings) optional in all MCPS schools and facilities. Students and staff are encouraged to be respectful of an individuals preference to wear on not wear a mask.
MCPS building service staff will continue to regularly clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in MCPS facilities. Special attention is given to door handles, light switches, sink handles, and other surfaces that are touched frequently. Restrooms in common areas are cleaned and disinfected more frequently throughout the day.
Regular hand-washing will be encouraged whenever students are in school buildings. Hand sanitizer will be provided to students and staff, with sanitizing stations placed throughout the building.
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.
MCPS has taken these steps to improve ventilation and ensure the health and safety of students and staff:
MCPS urges all eligible students and staff members to receive the vaccination to protect against COVID-19. In addition, MCPS will require that employees submit proof of vaccination or participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. More details will be shared with employees prior to the start of the school year.
MCPS will return to pre-pandemic class sizes and spacing. While the CDC encourages school districts to implement physical distancing to the extent possible, it cautions against implementing distancing requirements that would lead to the exclusion of students from in-person learning. Schools will also be encouraged to use outdoor spaces for unmasked educational and social experiences.
School administrators will be provided ongoing support to ensure effective systemwide implementation of health and safety practices.
All schools will have a designated isolation and triage space for students who develop symptoms of COVID-19 while at school. The school health services staff member will conduct an appropriate determination of the student’s condition based on their presenting symptoms.
Beginning March 1, MCPS will be moving from a 10-day isolation and quarantine period for students to a 5-day isolation and quarantine, if certain health conditions are met. This aligns with our requirements for staff, and the recommendations of the CDC, Maryland Department of Health and our local DHHS. Isolation – Students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 5 days.
Quarantine – Unvaccinated students who are identified as close contacts must quarantine for 5 days.
Isolation and Quarantine
These quarantine guidelines apply to staff who are close contacts of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and are unvaccinated; adults 18 years and older who have completed the primary series of Pfizer vaccine over 5 months ago or Moderna vaccine over 6 months ago and are not boosted OR completed the primary series of J&J over 2 months ago and are not boosted; or have not had COVID-19 in the past 90 days: