Health and Safety Updates and Reminders, Sept. 17, 2021
September 17th, 2021
Instructional Supports During Quarantine
HCPSS has implemented additional health and safety measures in schools to provide a safe learning environment; however, there are times when students and staff must quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 or being identified as a close contact. Parents/guardians will be notified by their child’s school when that child must quarantine after being identified as a close contact, or if there is a confirmed outbreak and the Howard County Health Department has instructed HCPSS to have a full class quarantine.
Comprehensive information about students in quarantine and the instructional supports available, as well as answers to many frequently asked questions on this, and other related topics are provided online at:
- New HCPSS Students in Quarantine website
- HCPSS Help site FAQs on:
Please note that elementary school students in quarantine will be provided with robust asynchronous instructional materials in the form of printed packets, which will differ from packets previously provided to students. The packets sent home earlier this year are an additional resource that may be used immediately after a student is told to quarantine and until they receive a device and robust instructional material packet.
Daily Health Check Reminder
Parents/guardians MUST perform a COVID-19 health check every day before your student leaves home. A student or staff member should NOT come to school with any of these symptoms:
- fever of 100.4 degrees or higher
- sore throat
- difficulty breathing
- diarrhea or vomiting
- new onset of severe headache (especially with fever), or
- new loss of taste or smell
HCPSS COVID-19 Dashboard Update
The HCPSS COVID-19 Dashboard now provides system-level data about the total number of students and staff in quarantine, as well as the numbers of students/staff quarantining due to illness or after being identified as close contacts. Information on the site also includes school and level data about the numbers of positive test results self-reported to HCPSS of students, staff or visitors in school/office buildings during their contagious period, and outbreak data as reported by the Maryland Department of Health.
It is important to note that close contact or quarantine does not indicate those students or staff have tested positive for COVID-19.
In-School COVID Testing Available
HCPSS continues to offer free, voluntary COVID-19 testing for K-12 students and school-based staff who develop COVID-like symptoms while they are in a school building, or are identified as close contacts when feasible. Parents/guardians of students under age 18 can provide consent via HCPSS Connect. Students aged 18 years or older are considered “eligible students” and must complete a print version of the consent form.
Staff Vaccination/Testing Program Update
All HCPSS employees, and others who regularly interact with students, must provide proof of full vaccination or undergo regular COVID-19 testing. An on-site testing program will be implemented at conveniently located locations during the school day. Due to the complexity of preparations for our vendor, the COVID staff testing program is now scheduled to launch the week of October 4. Visitors and volunteers will not be asked to show proof of vaccination or testing until the staff testing program is in effect. Once the on-site staff testing program is established, it will be expanded to enable use by contractors; facility users who interact with or support students before, during, and after school; and visitors and volunteers.