Frederick County Public School students returned to schools on Tuesday
Frederick, MD (KB) A cohort outbreak of COVID-19 has been reported in a Frederick County Public School since students returned to school buildings on Tuesday. The outbreak, defined as two or more confirmed COVID-19 cases among students, teachers, and staff, was reported at Catoctin High School.
FCPS officials also said the school system will deal with outbreaks on a case-by-case basis, and that safety continues to be a top priority as they continue with the hybrid learning plan.
The official announcement was made by Brandon Oland, Communications Manager for FCPS, on Wednesday:
“We are writing to share that a cohort at Catoctin High School (CHS) has met the criteria determined by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) for a Classroom/Cohort outbreak of COVID-19 defined below:
Classroom/cohort outbreak definition:
At least two confirmed COVID-19 cases among students/teachers/staff within a 14-day period and who are epidemiologically linked, but not household contacts.
When a report of a confirmed case of COVID-19 is received, Catoctin High School administrators conduct a case investigation to identify any close contacts of the individual and follow the Maryland State Department of Education and Maryland Department of Health (MDH) Decision Aid: Exclusion and Return for Laboratory Confirmed COVID-19 Cases and Persons with COVID-19-like Illness in Schools, Child Care Programs, and Youth Camps to isolate and quarantine the appropriate individuals.
We collaborate with our FCPS Health Services Specialist and the Frederick County Health Department (FCHD) for reporting and contact tracing of each case. During contact tracing, it was determined that two individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 participated in school-based activities in close enough proximity to be considered a cohort. This information was reported to MDH, who has determined these cases to meet the criteria of an outbreak of COVID-19.
During our case investigations, any close contacts of the individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 were contacted directly and advised to quarantine at home, monitor their health, and contact their healthcare provider for any health concerns.
While we believe the risk of exposure to others to be low, we are sharing this information out of an abundance of caution and to be transparent with our valued Catoctin High School community. The FCPS Health Specialist in collaboration with the FCHD COVID-19 School Liaison will be reporting COVID-19 case information to MDH every day until the outbreak is determined to be cleared.
CHS will continue to provide in-person hybrid instruction and extracurricular activities at this time. CHS staff follow all health and safety protocols, including mitigating strategies, during this pandemic. We are following guidance for social distancing, use of face coverings, handwashing, and sanitizing and disinfecting all work spaces. The health and safety of our community is our highest priority.”