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MCPS Process Updates: COVID-19 & Other Common Respiratory Viruses

As of April 15, 2024, MCPS is updating procedures for COVID-19 and other common respiratory viruses to align with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and endorsed by the Maryland Department of Health.

CDC’s Respiratory Virus Guidance

Immunizations Can Prevent Serious Illness

  • Seasonal vaccines are available for COVID-19 and influenza that help prevent serious illness and hospitalization
  • MCPS strongly recommends staying up to date on vaccines for common respiratory viruses
  • Immunization against RSV is available for certain individuals with higher risk of health complications from RSV

If you become sick with COVID-19 or another respiratory virus

  • Stay home to recover until you have been fever free and symptoms are improving, for at least 24 hours
  • When returning to work or school after being out for a respiratory infection, the CDC recommends additional precautions for 5 days
  • Staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 or influenza should report the specific reason for their illness-related absence to their school

Testing for Respiratory Viruses

  • Early testing allows for early treatment
  • Early medical evaluation and treatment is most important for people at risk for complications from respiratory illness
  • Medications for flu and COVID-19 infection work best to control symptoms and prevent complications when started as early as possible

Masks for Health Protection

  • Masks are available at school for staff, student or visitor use
  • Individuals can choose to wear a medical mask for health protection (their own or for a close contact)
  • School leaders may encourage masking when respiratory illnesses are spreading quickly in their school
  • Individuals unable to safely mask will not be asked to do so
  • Students asked to mask as a preventive measures will not be excluded from school for choosing not to wear a mask

COVID-19 Outbreaks in Schools

  • School-based outbreaks of certain infectious diseases are monitored by the Maryland health department
  • If 3 or more cases of COVID-19 occur in a high-risk classroom within 7 days, a case investigation determines if there is an outbreak
  • Families will be notified if their student has been exposed in a probable classroom outbreak and any recommended measures