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Charles County Public Schools implement new COVID protocols after outbreaks

The public school system is now facing virtual open houses, canceled dances and updated field trip guidance among other new protocols.
Credit: WUSA9
Charles County has created Internet Cafes in some schools in order to get students connected to their virtual classrooms. There are COVID protocols in place at each location.

CHARLES COUNTY, Md. — Although students and staff are now back in buildings after their August return to school, Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is currently putting new COVID procedures in place after the district held some in-person events which resulted in COVID-19 cases. 

CCPS says it is decreasing the number of people gathering inside of school buildings, including at open houses and school dances, as well as their number of school volunteers and groups on planned field trips. 

All CCPS high school homecoming dances are now canceled until further notice and field trips can now only take place within the county and southern Prince George’s County. However, the new guideline does not apply to the high school athletics program.

All schools and centers will also now hold upcoming open houses and back-to-school nights virtually. Administrators are planning to offer some meetings virtually or outdoors when possible, such as parent conferences and PTO meetings.

The district also updated its testing protocols so that a school nurse can give out rapid tests to those displaying severe symptoms at their discretion. In addition, any student or staff member who pre-screens as potentially positive for COVID-19 will be offered a PCR test. Staff and students can’t return to school or any activities until they receive results, the district specified. Those who refuse a PCR test after pre-screening as potentially positive will be excluded from school and any activities for ten days.

Students with a known exposure who want to test out of quarantine after seven days with a negative COVID-19 test must now visit their doctor, use an outside vendor or test through the Charles County Department of Health.

The district is also allowing families who would prefer to quarantine their child for 10 days to do so and return to school without testing. 

Staff who are exposed outside of school will no longer be allowed to receive a COVID-19 test at school to end a quarantine early. Staff should visit their doctor, use an outside vendor or test through the health department on day seven, or wait until day 10 to return to work without a test.  

CCPS is also asking parents to complete the COVID-19 prescreening questionnaire daily before sending their child on the bus or to school. Staff members will also be asked to check their health before coming to work.  

A full breakdown of CCPS procedures can be found here.

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