They were hosting a virtual town hall Wednesday night.
Frederick, Md (KM) Will it be mandatory to wear masks in Frederick County Public Schools was one of the questions posed to School System officials Wednesday night during a virtual town hall on a plan to reopen schools. Superintendent Dr. Theresa Alban says she’s seeking guidance from the Health Department.
“I have submitted that direction to our county Health Department to see if they would be comfortable that that is the safest way to move forward,” Dr. Alban says. “And if they felt that the masks are required, everywhere in the building would be the way to go.”
She was also asked what would happen if a student refused to wear a mask. “The plan you are seeing is our systemic plan. And that our schools will also be looking at the most effective ways for them to follow up on these type of situations. Some schools may choose to have a guidance counselor reach out and work with the family, and talk about how to resolve this issue,” Dr. Alban says.
The plan would develop a hybrid system to reopen schools which have been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such as system would divide students attending a school into two cohorts. One cohort would attend classes on Monday and Tuesdays, and take part in virtual learning the remaining three days. A second cohort would attend school on Thursday and Friday, and participate in virtual learning the other three days. School buildings would be closed on Wednesdays for deep cleaning.
Another citizen asked Dr. Alban why the School System doesn’t do all virtual learning like other school districts. She said the Board of Education will make that decision. “If our Board could make a decision, and if the health circumstances change, we may be in a situation where a state superintendent comes in and makes a decision and we have to be ready to comply and possibly shift gears,” says Dr. Alban.
Currently, the state is in Stage Two of its reopening plan, where the stay-at-home order is lifted and some businesses were allowed to reopen. . But it could go back to Stage One or completely closed if the number of COVID-19 cases start spiking.
A citizen asked Dr. Alban what could happen if there was a COVID-19 outbreak at a local school: : would all of the schools close; what percentage of students would need to be infected in order for the school to close. “We have been seeking guidance from the State Health Department and our local Health Department on what that protocol should be,” she responded. “And right now, we haven’t got the specifics ‘this is what you must do.’ So we would work in collaboration with our local Health Department and I know they would work in collaboration with the State Health Department.”
The Board of Education is expected to vote on August 5th on the plan to reopen schools.
By Kevin McManus