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Dorchester County Public Schools

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Superintendent's Press Release

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An Open Letter to the Dorchester County Public Schools Community 3-10-2021

10 March 2021

An Open Letter to the Dorchester County Public Schools Community

Good afternoon Dorchester County Public Schools Community,

Like many of you, I read with interest the Governor’s lifting of some COVID restrictions in communities. As we approach the one-year anniversary of schools suddenly closing last March, I share the Governor’s and State Superintendent of Schools’ enthusiasm for reopening schools and can assure you that Dorchester County schools are constantly reassessing possibilities for extending in-person instruction. We are now evaluating the Governor’s changes and what they might mean for schools with the CDC’s continuing six-foot social distancing guidelines, as the safety of our students and staff remains Priority One. Our COVID levels, both in the schools and in the County, remain low and we do not want to create issues where there are none.

It is by maintaining a level of caution that we have had safe returns by our students and staff since the beginning of February. By continuing to follow the rules set down by the Bayside Conference, all DCPS secondary athletic teams have been able to keep to their schedule with no quarantines. We will continue to follow the guidance of the Bayside Conference for possible increases in attendance to athletic events in the near future.

On a more positive note, graduation planning has begun in earnest at each high school for the graduating class of 2021. Each high school will be announcing plans in the very near future!

Our continuing success in safely transitioning to in-person learning brought Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, to Dorchester County last Friday to visit North Dorchester Middle, North Dorchester High, and Hurlock Elementary. She was especially interested in our mitigation strategies and how we have managed to keep COVID at such a low level in our schools. We are ahead of many Maryland counties in bringing students back into the classroom, especially secondary students. NDMS and NDHS are the first secondary schools Dr. Salmon has visited since schools began re-opening, and she was impressed with the work our staff has done to maximize in-person instruction safely. Thank you everyone for the part you play in making this happen every day for our students!

One of our best tools to support keeping schools open is contact tracing. If you or someone in your household tests positive, please cooperate with the staff from the Health Department who gather this very important information. While we recognize the difficulties that come with being in quarantine, this is how we stop the spread and keep students in classrooms.

The Board of Education is opening the March meeting to in-person attendees, limiting the number at ten for now. Anyone interested in attending needs to register in advance. Registration information is on the DCPS web page under ‘Leadership’, then ‘Board of Education’. The form will open on Friday at 3:00 for registrants. The meeting will continue to be livestreamed too, as usual.

Have a great week and stay safe as we continue with our present re-opening plan.

Stay safe and healthy,

W. David Bromwell

Superintendent

Dorchester County Public Schools