She says masks will serve as an extra layer of protection for unvaccinated students.
Frederick, MD (KB) Superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools Dr. Theresa Alban announced a new policy to be held in schools as students return in the Fall.
“Beginning on August 9th, we are going to require that all staff, students, and visitors indoors, in Frederick County Public Schools, wear a facial covering,” she said.
Dr. Alban said the mask mandate will help slow community spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“Knowing that none of our elementary students can be vaccinated, we are going to have a lot of vulnerable members of our community entering our school buildings,” she explained. “We felt that masking enabled us to add one more layer of preventive strategies.”
The Superintendent said the pandemic has not gone away. There are growing concerns about the Delta variant of COVID-19.
“What is very scary right now is that even though Frederick County and Maryland are in the “moderate” range, if you look at the CDC color chart, the Delta variant is so contagious that the projections have us increasing much faster than we’ve seen some of the cases increase in the past,” said Dr. Alban. “Based on where we are and what they know about the Delta variant, we anticipate that by the time we would be bringing students back to school, we will be in the red, high transmission in the community.”
Dr. Alban said many people under the age of 18 are getting COVID-19. While they may not get a severe case, she said they can contribute to community spread.
Dr. Alban said she has received a lot of support for the decision to require face coverings indoors.
“I get a lot of emails, some very heartfelt from people who are very thankful and grateful,” she said. “They’ve been very worried about sending their kids back if masks weren’t going to be used, and again, they have some heartwarming stories about family members they are trying to protect.”
She said the primary goal for Frederick County Public Schools was to get students back in school. The masks will hopefully ensure that students can do so, safely, and minimize the time spent outside of school quarantining.
Dr. Alban said the policy will definitely be revisited based on statistics of the spread of COVID-19 in the community.