CARROLL COUNTY, Md. — At a Carroll County Public School board meeting Wednesday night, board members decided to loosen their quarantine policies.
This comes as around 1400 students and staff are currently on quarantine with nearly 250 positive cases.
“Simply put we have too many healthy students in quarantine,” said board member Marsha Herbert.
Last week hundreds of students and staff had to stay home because of an outbreak at Northwest Middle School.
The issue parents and the board have is that healthy kids, who haven’t tested positive, aren’t allowed in classrooms because they came in contact with someone who was sick.
Wendy Warner is the principal at Westminster Elementary School.
She said that having so many kids coming in and out of quarantine is causing a huge strain on everyone.
“The teachers are doing the best they can to get assignments into their Google classrooms," said Warner. “As we see more and more students being quarantined it’s very difficult for them to keep up putting those assignments in because they are specific to those students who are out. What they are doing in the classroom looks different.”
Ed Singer is the Carroll County Health Officer.
He said the best way to keep kids in class is for eligible children to get vaccinated.
The hope is to get a shipment of take home tests for parents next month.
In the meantime he and the board found a middle ground that Singer says he still isn’t completely comfortable with—but willing to give a try.
“Excluding students from quarantine who are consistently wearing masks in the classrooms,” Singer said. “What we talked about was doing this for the classrooms only. We can’t do this during lunchtime because students are unmasked. We can’t do it for contacts at home because we know the majority of the people who are getting sick are getting it from somebody else in their own household.”
Bryan Thompson has two children that showed no symptoms and didn’t test positive that were put on quarantine already.
He supports the boards decision and is hopeful it will help keep learning in school and not online.
“I think that if they can show they are healthy, especially through a test that proves they don’t have COVID,” said Thompson. “I think definitely it’s worth getting them back in the classroom.”
The plan is to implement the policy on Monday.
They will reassesses the policy with the health officer in a month.