Education, Health, Sci-Tech

Baltimore County Public Schools drops masking requirement in schools, offices

TOWSON, MD—As of July 1, masks will no longer be required in the schools and offices of Baltimore County Public Schools, in alignment with state guidelines.

Masks are still required on school buses unless the driver and bus attendant are alone, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The BCPS mitigation plan has been updated with additional changes noted below.

“We are all relieved that COVID-19 rates have decreased so significantly in Baltimore County since May,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. Darryl L. Williams. “Throughout this crisis, BCPS has followed the science. With vaccines in plentiful supply and community spread at the lowest transmission level under categories set by the CDC, we are able to provide updated guidance.”

In addition to not requiring masks in schools and offices, the updated BCPS mitigation plan includes the guidance outlined below. BCPS will continue to monitor COVID-19 transmission, trends, and guidance from the state, CDC, and local expert input to guide its mitigation plan.

Masking

  • Unvaccinated people are encouraged to wear masks indoors and outdoors.

Physical Distancing

  • BCPS provides physical distancing between students to the greatest extent possible, considering school enrollment and facility constraints.
  • Physical distancing is encouraged in offices as much as possible to reduce the risk of becoming a “close contact.”
  • There are no COVID-related restrictions for restroom and elevator occupancy, or for locker use, but supervision is provided to prevent congregation.

Handwashing & Respiratory Etiquette

  • Handwashing supplies are available in all classrooms.
  • Bathrooms are fully stocked with soap and paper towels.
  • Hand sanitizer is provided in areas with shared high touch items, such as reception desks and copier rooms.
  • BCPS promotes respiratory etiquette in schools and offices.

Healthy Operations

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  • Buildings are cleaned daily using EPA-approved products that kill the COVID-19 virus.
  • Shared items are permitted with handwashing or hand sanitizing by users before and after use.
  • Clean and dirty pens are no longer designated.
  • High-touch materials shared by multiple classrooms are cleaned daily.
  • High-touch surfaces on playgrounds are cleaned daily as required by the Maryland State Department of Education.
  • Water fountains are closed for use. Drinking water is provided for all staff and students.

Contact Tracing

  • People who come within six feet of a person with COVID-19 infection for 15 or more total minutes are considered to have “close contact” and must quarantine unless fully vaccinated.
  • Employees and students will continue to report positive tests and close contact to their supervisor or school nurse.
  • Sign-in sheets are required for visitors and for staff visiting schools/offices that are not their primary work location.
  • Daily attendance records are required for all staff and students.
  • Contact logs are required for itinerant, related services and student support service providers.
  • Seating charts/logs are required for students spaced less than six feet apart, including in the classroom and during meals and special events.
  • Assigned seats are encouraged on the school bus.

Screening

All are asked to refrain from entering schools or offices if they are ill or have symptoms of COVID-19, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test.

Field Trips

Day field trips are permitted but require completion and approval of the Field Trip Request Form. Overnight field trips are not permitted at this time. Weekend and evening school activities are permitted and must adhere to mitigation requirements.

Visitors to Schools and Offices

Virtual visits are encouraged, when appropriate, based on the purpose of the visit or meeting. Indoor visits and volunteers are permitted. Plans for indoor visits and volunteers should allow physical distancing. Volunteers must follow the established BCPS volunteer guidelines as outlined in Superintendent’s Rule 1260.

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