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Montgomery County Public Schools rolls out COVID rapid tests, adjusts quarantine policy

Rapid tests are now available in all MCPS facilities to test students that display COVID-19 symptoms while at school. Parents must consent to testing.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Montgomery County Public Schools is once again changing its guidance on who will be asked to quarantine if a student displays COVID-19 symptoms while at school. Now that all MCPS facilities have rapid antigen tests available (as of Sept. 13) health staff can receive results from tests on symptomatic students in less than 20 minutes. 

Parents will be asked to provide consent before any testing can be performed on students at schools. 

"We are optimistic these adjustments will reduce quarantining of close contacts, while continuing to keep our students and staff safe," MCPS officials said in a letter sent to parents. 

Here's the new quarantine guidance based on rapid testing results. 

Symptomatic student with NEGATIVE rapid test:

  • Close contacts won't be asked to quarantine but PCR test is recommended for symptomatic student
    • Negative PCR test: Close contacts do not need to quarantine
    • Positive PCR test: Unvaccinated close contacts will need to quarantine

Symptomatic student with POSITIVE rapid test: 

  • Unvaccinated close contacts must quarantine for 10 days, no test-out option 

"Testing is an important prevention strategy that will help us keep schools open and safe and help to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus," MCPS said. "This strategy, along with mandatory vaccinations for staff, masks, hand-washing, maximizing the use of outdoor spaces, and staying home when sick will help to keep students learning in school, five days a week while keeping them and staff members safe."

The consent form for rapid testing can be found here. Parents/guardians of students who show COVID-19 symptoms and don't have a consent form on file will be called for verbal permission. 


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