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By: David M. Higgins II, Publisher, Staff Writer
UPDATE 3/12/2020 @8:30 p.m.: the Southern Maryland Chronicle has obtained an email sent out by Glenna Edwards from Margaret Brent Middle Schools:
Dear Margaret Brent Middle School Community,
I just received the following information and wanted to share it with you immediately. As you know Margaret Brent Middle School (MBMS) was closed for all students and staff on Friday, March 13, 2020, due to concerns about possible exposure to COVID-19 affecting the MBMS school community. I am so very happy to share the following information as I know how very concerned everyone has been since my message last evening.
The St. Mary’s County Health Department conducted an evaluation of exposure risk including lab testing of COVID-19 of those individuals concerned. All lab tests conducted as part of this evaluation were negative for COVID-19. Community members should continue to practice infection prevention and social distancing measures as described on the health department’s website at: www.smchd.org/coronavirus
I’m sure we will all rest easier this evening. Remember that all SMCPS schools will be closed for the next two weeks. Have a safe and relaxing weekend.
UPDATE 3/13/2020 6:50 a.m.- The Southern Maryland Chronicle reached out to the St. mary’s County Health Department overnight for an explanation of the early closing of Margaret Brent Middle School. This morning the SMCHD responded as follows:
Out of an abundance of caution, it was determined that Margaret Brent Middle School (MBMS) would be closed for all students and staff on Friday, March 13, 2020, due to concerns about possible exposure to COVID-19 affecting the MBMS school community. This was a joint decision of SMCPS and SMCHD. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in St. Mary’s County. This action is a precautionary measure made in the best interest of our students and staff. As a further precaution, immediate mitigation efforts for the school building to include extensive cleaning will take place. Followup information will be provided to the school community as soon as more information is available.
We understand this action may cause concern to the MBMS school community. The potential health risks and disruption to school operations were considered, as well as the announcement yesterday by Governor Hogan confirming the presence of localized, community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 in Maryland.
SMCHD urges members of the MBMS community – If you have symptoms (such as fever, cough, or trouble breathing) please stay home and avoid contact with others. Seek medical care if you need to, but please call ahead to the medical provider or facility. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in St. Mary’s County, those who were exposed as a close contact will be notified and an announcement made to the community. For more information about COVID-19, visit: www.smchd.org/coronavirus
Again, at this time we do not have a confirmed case. This closure was made in an abundance of caution.
Mechanicsville, MD- The Governor of Maryland has closed all Public Schools beginning March 16, 2020. Margaret Brent Middle Schoo(MBMS)l has just informed parents, staff, and students that they will be closed starting Friday, March 13, 2020.
We have reached out to St. Mary’s County Public Schools to find out why, but have not received an answer yet. We have also reached out to the Principal of MBMS to see if they can be of assistance.
There are rumors circulating on social media about the reason why. These are rumors at this time. We will verify the reason with SMCPS. Please do not spread unverified information.
This is a developing story.