Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students will return to in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 10. CCPS will operate on a normal schedule of in-person learning and continues to work closely with the Charles County Department of Health to monitor COVID-19 data, positive cases and discuss necessary quarantine measures. The following are important CCPS updates as students return back to school next week.
CCPS quarantine processes remain the same
Any time a decision is made to quarantine a classroom, grade level, or school, CCPS will communicate directly with the affected parents and staff of the school community. Systemwide decisions that affect all students, parents, and staff are shared with the entire CCPS community. Below is a visual of the CCPS quarantine process. The health department can also require CCPS to close a building, school, center, or system at any time if county health indicators warrant such action. This was the case for Jan. 3-7, as CCPS was directed by the health department to cease normal operations in school buildings for the week.
Following updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CCPS updated quarantine protocols late last month for staff as well as for students who are exposed to COVID-19 outside of school. Updates are included in the standard operating procedures posted here. Protocols for student-to-student exposure at school remain unchanged.
The CDC and state and local health departments encourage anyone eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination series, as well as a booster vaccine, to seek vaccination as soon as possible. Local vaccination resources are posted here. Several Charles County pharmacy locations, as well as primary care physicians, offer COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.
Test results not required for staff or student return, sick students/staff should stay home
Currently, CCPS does not require students or staff to test for COVID-19 prior to returning to school next week. Any student or staff member who is sick, symptomatic or exposed to a COVID-19 positive person should seek testing and stay home until they are feeling better. Earlier this week, CCPS tested staff members who reported COVID-19 symptoms to the school system but could not locate testing resources. CCPS asks parents to report positive COVID-19 student results to their child’s school. Staff should report a positive result to their supervisor or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 testing available at Westlake High School Jan. 7-8
The health department is hosting COVID-19 testing at Westlake High School in Waldorf today, Jan. 7, and tomorrow, Jan. 8. Today’s testing hours are 1 to 4 p.m. and appointments are not required. The health department will administer as many tests as supplies allow. Tomorrow’s testing hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with no appointments required. Other testing resources are posted on the health department website here.
Spectator access, out-of-county field trips suspended for January
CCPS has suspended spectator access this month for all athletic and extracurricular activities. Other than staff working these events, no other visitors will be allowed to attend January events. Some fine arts events may be livestreamed on YouTube or recorded for sharing purposes. CCPS streams some high school athletic events (those held in the gym or on the football field) using a free service available online through the NFHS Network. Click here to create a free NFHS account.
CCPS has implemented these temporary measures to eliminate unnecessary traffic of community members in schools. CCPS will evaluate future spectator access later this month and will implement an online ticketing system to manage visitor traffic to athletic events.
CCPS has also asked principals to postpone any out-of-county academic field trips for January. In-county field trips for students set to visit either the James E. Richmond Science Center or Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center will continue this month.
Weekly COVID screening available for students, staff
CCPS offers a free weekly COVID-19 screening for all students and staff. Screenings are done weekly at all schools through the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) contracted vendor 20/20 GeneSystems. The screening only requires a one-time registration process for students and staff. Click here to register.
Updated outbreak language from state health department
Effective Jan. 1, the state health department released new kindergarten through Grade 12 COVID-19 outbreak definitions for classrooms and schools. CCPS will follow and report outbreak data as defined by the state health department below.
Classroom/cohort outbreak definition: three or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among students/teachers/staff in a specified group with onsets (or, if asymptomatic, collection dates) within a 14-day period, and who are epidemiologically linked in the school setting, but not household contacts.
Schoolwide outbreak definition: five or more cohorts with cases from separate households that meet the classroom/cohort outbreak definition that occurs within 14 days; OR 5 percent or more unrelated students/teachers/staff have confirmed COVID-19 within a 14-day period (minimum of 10 unrelated students/teachers/staff).