State to Revisit School Quarantine and Mask Policies in December

The Maryland State Department of Education suggested that it will reconsider current policies regarding student quarantine and masks in the coming months.

At the October 26 meeting of the State Board of Education, Board President Clarence Crawford said that the Board should make a “reasoned decision and approach as to how we should go forward” at its next meeting on December 7. Crawford pointed to pending access to the COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5-11 as prime reasons to reevaluate the state’s current policies.

Currently, Maryland does not have a statewide policy on COVID-19 related quarantine for students. The state does, however, have emergency regulations in place that require all students and staff to wear masks in all public school facilities, a measure passed and adopted in September.

From Maryland Matters reporting:

In Maryland, there is no standardized rule on when students should be quarantined and for how long, but the Maryland Department of Health and MSDE recommendthat unvaccinated close contacts quarantine regardless of their test results for 14 days after exposure. Fully vaccinated close contacts do not need to quarantine if they have no symptoms unless they test positive, according to the state guidance.

State Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury said he is working with Dr. Jinlene Chan, the deputy secretary of public health services, to modify quarantine policy recommendations for all public schools but “we’re just not there yet.”

Access the October 26 State Board of Education meeting video and materials.

For more information on MSDE’s current policies, visit the school board’s website.

At the MACo Winter Conference session, “Education Equity: Confronting the COVID Gap,” an expert panel will discuss how the emerging challenges and opportunities our students and institutions face coming in the “new normal,” from learning gaps, to inequities in resources and access.

The 2021 MACo Winter Conference, “Time to Reboot: Tomorrow’s Tech Today,” will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, MD from December 8-10.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: