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BCPS addresses bus overcrowding and COVID safety concerns

Posted at 6:05 PM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 18:07:24-04

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. — Just two days into the school year and Baltimore County Public Schools is addressing issues of bus overcrowding, lack of bus drivers and COVID cases.

WMAR-2 News obtained a letter sent out to Tuesday to members of the Dulaney High School community. The letter, dated August 31, states someone tested positive for COVID-19. The principal was made aware of the case on August 29th and that those who were in close contact with the individual are now in quarantine.

BCPS couldn't tell WMAR if the individual who tested positive was a student or staff member.

Over at Woodlawn High School, officials are dealing with positive COVID-19 cases among its student-athletes. Currently health officials are still in the process of finding out where the COVID-19 cases turned up, how many students tested positive and if there are more cases.

"Athletics, of course, is a concern. We have groups of students coming together and right now it's going through our typical protocol just to see where we can do the contact tracing in notifying, we always work with our health officials," Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Darryl Williams said Tuesday during a round table meeting with members of the media.

During Tuesday's media conversation, Williams also addressed the issue of a lack of bus drivers.

"We’re still hiring and we’re still adjusting," said Williams. "Yesterday bus drivers had to pick up additional routes."

Meanwhile, Michael Zarchin, the head of School Climate and Safety, said the district does have a plan to handle individual positive COVID-19 cases.

"They will look at every individual case, they will identify students who have tested positive, and they would go into isolation. Our nurses have been very good at identifying students who came into contact. A letter will go out that either says your child came into contact with someone who is tested positive or, we’re sharing this information to let you know your child did not come into contact with someone who tested positive," Zarchin said.

And while students are away from campus, the school system said it has ways of making sure they don't miss out on instruction.

"For individual students, we work with individual schools to provide that continuity of learning. It will be a lot of work there on Schoology, a lot of the work will be through a virtual platform of some sort," Williams said.

If parents or guardians have a concern about safety issues, they are encouraged to call BCPS Administrative Offices.