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Superintendent’s Health & Safety Updates, May 13, 2022

May 13th, 2022

Please note, an earlier version of this message incorrectly stated that, per the CDC, Howard County is in low community transmission levels and should have stated the transmission level is medium. This has been corrected below.

The following message was issued by HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano on May 13, 2022:

With only five weeks to go, it’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of the school year. While we are close to the last days, we’re not there yet and we all must remain vigilant when it comes to health and safety.

There has been an uptick of COVID-19 cases in some of our schools, across Howard County and throughout the state. We continue to monitor the data very closely and work with the Howard County Health Department (HCHD) to assess the environment in our schools. At this time, we have no plans to return to hybrid or fully virtual instruction, nor have we been given direction to reinstitute a mask mandate.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Howard County is in the medium community transmission level. And per HCHD, hospitalizations and deaths are “lower than previous surges.”

That being said, our student/staff positive case numbers are slightly up systemwide, and we have experienced a handful of school- and/or grade-specific outbreaks, as defined by the Maryland Department of Health. Our schools continue to notify staff and families when there are new positive cases and/or in the event of an outbreak.

Now, so close to the end of the school year, is not the time to let our guard down. Please conduct daily health checks and do not send your child to school if they exhibit symptoms associated with any communicable disease, including COVID-19.

Health Services staff in schools are still providing diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and staff. Last month, we provided every staff and student who wanted one with an at-home COVID-19 testing kit. The rapid antigen at-home tests are now widely available online and at pharmacies/grocery stores. Additionally, HCHD continues to provide testing to those who wish to receive it.

Health professional guidance continues to place a great importance on receiving vaccinations and keeping up-to-date on boosters. Masks are voluntary in HCPSS buildings and remain available at our schools and offices.

Lastly, you may have seen a recent letter from Howard County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman, in which she shared additional precautions. I encourage you to read and follow those preventative actions.

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation as we continue working to ensure the health and safety of every student and staff member.