At its work session on Nov. 1, the Dorchester County Board of Education agreed to proceed with the modification of the current practices regarding the quarantine of students identified as close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases, as was voted at the Oct. 21 meeting.
The new practice, effective Wednesday, Nov. 3, means that unvaccinated students who are identified as a close contact but who are properly wearing a mask when near a positive student and are asymptomatic, will not need to quarantine.
Parents will be notified of the contact and asked to closely monitor their child for symptoms. Student-to-student contact tracing will now only identify student close contacts in situations where students are unmasked.
Students residing in a household with a positive family member will still be expected to quarantine and all DCPS COVID mitigation strategies will continue.
Contact tracing investigations that involve contact with staff members will remain unchanged.
This step is being taken with the agreement of the Dorchester County Health Department following a review of Dorchester County Public Schools’ quarantine data from Spring 2021 through October, including the Summer Academies. It also aligns with a Modified Quarantine Option for Schools, as released by the Maryland Department of Health and Maryland State Department of Education on Oct. 27.
“Our goal has always been to keep as many students in school as possible, but to do so safely. The Health Department agrees that this change to our practice will allow this,” said Superintendent of Schools Dave Bromwell. “This approach has also been endorsed by the Public Schools Superintendents’ Association of Maryland, allowing us to be in step with the practice in other counties.”