Distributive policy

School board to vote next week on school mask policy: What to expect

The Board of Education is set to vote March 8 on a policy that could make face coverings optional at Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).

The Council will discuss relevant and recent data in relation to federal, state and local guidelines to determine whether face masks should still be required in MCPS. The state of Maryland recently repealed mandatory schools under updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease and Control.

MCPS expects the Board to vote in favor of a mask-optional policy for schools.

“The changes to our mask policy will be welcome for some and may be concerning for others,” read a statement from MCPS. “There will be students, teachers and administrators who want or need to continue to wear masks in our schools. We have to respect that.

Masks should become optional on transportation, such as school buses, and at after-school events. School bus windows will remain open, weather permitting.

MCPS maintains a COVID mitigation strategy, which includes: rapid home COVID testing, random rapid school COVID testing, enhanced HVAC systems, vaccination clinics, and distribution of KN-95 masks.

Montgomery County is currently classified as “low” COVID-19 impact, according to CDC measurements. Quarantine and isolation periods for those exposed or positive have been lowered from 10 to 5 days. Immunization clinics will be offered in schools on March 5 and 6 and in other locations around the county.

COVID transmission rates continue to be monitored by MCPS, which is tracked in the COVID-19 Data Dashboard. If a change in transmission results in additional changes or reestablishment of the mask policy, MCPS will take appropriate action.