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Dorchester County Public Schools

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Superintendent's Press Release

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Superintendent's Weekly COVID Update 8-27-2021

27 August 2021

An Open Letter to the Dorchester County Public Schools Community

Dorchester County students, staff, parents, community:

Dorchester County Public Schools is extremely excited about the 2021-2022 school year. We look forward to providing our students with academic as well as social, and emotional supports in these very uncertain times. Weeks ago, I announced that DCPS would be in-person this school year, as we all have learned that for the majority of our students, in-person learning is most successful for our students and families.

Last week, at the Dorchester County Board of Education meeting, I announced that we would begin the new school year with a strong recommendation that students and staff wear masks within our buildings, but still optional for staff and students. However, yesterday the Maryland State Board of Education took this a step further and voted to mandate the wearing of masks by students, staff, and everyone inside a school in the state of Maryland. Dorchester County Public Schools must abide by this mandate. While I am extremely optimistic about in-person learning, one of the key pieces to make this happen is to be safe and consistent with as few interruptions to our learning experience as possible.

Over the last several weeks, Dorchester County has significantly increased its COVID-19 spread going from Low to High at an alarming rate. With that being said, the Dorchester County Health Department and DCPS still feel in-person learning can be done successfully with minimal setbacks or spread of the virus by following a layered approach of mitigation strategies.

What makes in-person learning during the pandemic so difficult is not necessarily a COVID positive of a student or staff member, but the number of quarantines that must take place to keep everyone still safe within a learning environment. Last year, a student who was positive with COVID could possibly send numerous students home with quarantine status. That is the recommendation again this year if unmasked. But if a classroom is entirely masked and a student becomes positive with COVID-19, masked students who are three feet apart no longer must quarantine. This is a major change from last years in-person guidelines as published by the CDC. This is why the Maryland State Board of Education has mandated masks for all students and staff.

We are asking you, the parent, to continue to be observant when it comes to your child and how they attend school each day. Any symptom cannot be ignored. Students should remain home to combat possible spread of COVID 19 if they have one or more symptoms.

I know my community and I know how polarizing this subject has been for everyone. But I also know we want our students in school, safe, and learning. The state Board of Education has taken this step to lessenW. David Bromwell, Superintendent DATE August 25, 2021the chances of interruptions to that learning. Thank you for all your patience and flexibility with the pandemic as this extreme roller coaster ride of ups and downs continues.

Throughout the pandemic, one thing continues to remain a constant: Dorchester County Public Schools staff will always do our best for our students, no matter the circumstances.

Thank you and stay safe,

W. David Bromwell

Superintendent

Dorchester County Public Schools