Schools in Montgomery Co. start next week with COVID-19 ‘test-to-stay’ pilot – Community News
Covid-19

Schools in Montgomery Co. start next week with COVID-19 ‘test-to-stay’ pilot

After the public school system in Montgomery County, Maryland, bounces back from launching a program designed to reduce student quarantine, the public school system in Montgomery County, Maryland, says it is launching a “test-to-stay” pilot will start next week.

After the public school system in Montgomery County, Maryland, bounces back from launching a program designed to reduce student quarantine, the public school system in Montgomery County, Maryland, says it is “test-to-stay” pilot will begin next week.

Montgomery County Public Schools has devised its “test-to-stay” program to allow students who have been exposed to COVID-19 infection but show no symptoms to avoid quarantine and stay in school. Part of the requirement is that students exposed to the virus must undergo daily testing to confirm they are not infected.

Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Earl Stoddard said the county was notified by state health and education officials earlier this month. They were concerned about allowing children exposed at the time of possible exposure to COVID-19 to participate in the program.



However, after “very productive” discussions this week, the school system was given the green light to proceed with the pilot program, Stoddard said, which will start with a “handful” of schools.

“We’re now going to focus on the lunchroom exposures, which make up the biggest chunk” of exposures in the school system, he said.

Under the program, students exposed to the coronavirus over lunch while exposed can stay in school instead of quarantining.

“As long as they continue to test negative for five days…they will do rapid tests in the morning upon arrival,” Stoddard said. “If they keep testing negative, they can stay in school”

Still, Stoddard said that “not every opportunity that is exposed exposure qualifies for a test-to-stay.”

If students are exposed to COVID-19 during “forced exhalation” indoor activities such as singing and exercising, they are not eligible for “test-to-stay”. Those exposed students should still be quarantined.

Stoddard said county and school officials are optimistic the pilot could be helpful in helping children avoid quarantine while keeping them safe. Recently, schools in Montgomery County updated their guidelines for coronavirus-related quarantine for students across the school system.

“We want to make sure it works,” he says. “We want to collect some data. That should give the state some confidence that the program poses little or no risk and can be expanded.

In a message sent to parents by the school system, Montgomery County school officials said the Maryland Department of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the school system itself “will review the data during this launch to ensure that the program is safe and effective. .”


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