The Latest on Coronavirus
The message below was sent to all MCPS families this morning (March 4). Please be sure to read the latest information on coronavirus and the district’s efforts to ensure the health and safety of all students.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
We are writing to provide you with additional information about the coronavirus and MCPS’ efforts to ensure the health and safety of all students.
Yesterday (March 3), the Montgomery County Council received a briefing from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security on the County’s coronavirus preparedness efforts. The Council received up-to-date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) and discussed the County’s efforts to ensure the health and safety of all residents. MCPS leadership and other community partners and stakeholders participated in this important discussion.
DHHS has shared that the risk to the general American public remains low and that to date, no cases have been confirmed in Maryland or in the National Capital Region. Under Maryland law, the County Health Officer makes the decision on school closures when it pertains to public health crises. Those decisions will be made in collaboration with other county agencies. At this time, per guidance from DHHS, schools will remain open and operations at the county level will continue as normal.
MCPS has a plan in place to address continuity of operations and student learning should there be an outbreak in the state and in the county. The district also is meeting with all principals this week to review emergency preparedness procedures. We continue to hear from members of the community seeking additional information about the steps we are taking to prevent the spread of the virus in schools and to provide instruction to students in the event of school closures. The following information highlights aspects of the district’s plan for school, facilities and instruction.
MCPS Schools and Facilities
- MCPS building service personnel have increased their focus on thoroughly disinfecting communal surfaces.
- We continue to make hand sanitizers widely available in all facilities and continue to emphasize the importance of regular and thorough handwashing by ensuring that all buildings are appropriately stocked with soap.
- The district continues to share best practices for overall health in cold and influenza season with students, parents and staff. These preventive measures include:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- The CDC recommends that individuals remain home for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medication (i.e., chills, feeling warm, flushed appearance).
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately discard the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Take any anti-viral medication prescribed to you as instructed.
- Informational posters from the CDC will be distributed to all schools. Parents can find these posters in multiple languages here.
Instructional Activities for Students
- MCPS is preparing to provide instructional activities for all students prekindergarten through Grade 12 in the event that schools are closed.
- In order to meet the needs of all students and families, these instructional activities will be provided through online access and in hard copy.
- Multiple tools will be used to provide instructional activities. This includes:
- Using the MCPS website to provide educational videos and other instructional materials appropriate for various grade levels and subjects.
- Using MCPS Instructional Television to broadcast educational programs that cater to different grade levels and subjects.
- Providing ideas for instructional activities that parents can complete with their children.
- Students accessing their Google for Education Accounts, which provides the ability for students to participate in online activities in a structured manner. We are also exploring ways to have our technology available to students.
In the Event of School Closures
- MCPS will follow DHHS direction in getting our facilities and buses back to normal operations.
- The MCPS website will be updated frequently and information will be shared with the community about our operational status through multiple methods including AlertMCPS, ConnectEd, social media, the MCPS Information Line, and QuickNotes.
- MCPS essential workers will return prior to all other staff and students to ensure the cleanliness and sanitation of our facilities.
- Depending on the length of time schools are closed, we are prepared to provide meals at several schools as regional meal sites. Information on the sites will be shared with the community once it is finalized.
Frequently Asked Questions
- MCPS updates its coronavirus webpage daily and members of the community are encouraged to visit the page frequently. The page features up-to-date information from county, state and federal health officials, links to important resources in multiple languages, tips for how to speak with your children about the coronavirus, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). The FAQs provide additional information on important topics such as school field trips, plans for instruction and how parents can help.
If you have questions about the county’s efforts, you can contact the Montgomery County Office of Disease Control and Epidemiology at 240-777-1755. Please contact the MCPS Office of Communications at 240-740-2837 if you have questions about district operations and student instruction.
Montgomery County Public Schools