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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 4-14-2021

14 April 2021

An Open Letter to the Dorchester County Public Schools Community

Good afternoon Dorchester County Public Schools Community,

As you know, we have been working over the last few months to bring more students back into our school buildings safely. With your support this approach has been very successful.  COVID cases within our schools among both students and staff have remained relatively low.  The situation has remained stable enough to be able to take advantage of the CDC’s changes in school guidelines and allow us to plan to expand further this week, bringing all students whose parents have chosen in-person learning back together for four days each week.

I’m here today to tell you that these plans could be in jeopardy.  COVID cases in Dorchester County have been climbing steadily for the past two weeks.  Over this past weekend we passed the state’s case rate average and, once again, have the highest rate on the Eastern Shore, significantly higher than our neighboring counties.  And what happens in the community makes its way into our schools.

The fine weather this past weekend brought groups of people out for activities, but too many were ignoring safety guidelines.  If families and others in the community do not continue to take precautions, particularly wearing masks, we will not be able to keep schools open.  It’s that simple.  I wish to applaud the local youth organizations who are following CDC safety guidelines of social distancing and mask wearing.  DCPS needs ALL youth organizations to follow those safety guidelines because obviously, these youth who participate return to our schools on a daily basis.

With increased student attendance in schools, there is an increased chance for COVID spread.  We have no control over what happens outside our school buildings, but we will continue to take the responsible steps necessary when it is brought into our school buildings.

Furthermore, any student who is sent to school when they should be quarantining because there is a positive COVID case in their household, will not be able to return to a school building for the remainder of the school year and will need to become a virtual learner.  I made this statement Monday and DCPS will follow this procedure for all students.

I am extremely frustrated and disappointed that DCPS has to take such a rigid stance involving the pandemic, but community actions are forcing us in this direction.

With all of that being said, we WILL still be moving with our scheduled increased attendance next week, April 20, 2021 with Pre-K through grade 12 attending school for in-person learning. Our C group students will continue with their virtual learning platform.  Mace’s Lane Middle School is remaining closed to students.  A status update will be shared later this week regarding reopening.

Thank you.  Stay safe and abide by ALL CDC safety guidelines.

W. David Bromwell

Superintendent

Dorchester County Public Schools