COVID-19 PROTOCOLS @ AACPS

  • Last update: May 23, 2022, to reflect new COVID-19 mitigation strategies in schools 

    Read the May 19, 2022, letter from Superintendent George Arlotto regarding new COVID-19 mitigation strategies


    Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) and the Anne Arundel County Department of Health (AADOH) remain in continual contact regarding issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. AACPS continues to take guidance from AADOH is it makes decisions regarding the operation of schools and offices.

    Below are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the pandemic and school operations. 

    This information is likely to change regularly as measures to battle the COVID-19 pandemic are updated and enhanced. Please check this page often.

  • What do the new COVID-19 mitigation strategies implemented on May 23, 2022, mean for my student's school?

    The new COVID-19 mitigation strategies are aimed at avoiding sending large numbers of unvaccinated students home as a result of outbreaks. Those strategies call for the following for schools that reach a positivity rate (including students and staff) of 5 percent or higher over a 14-day period, the threshold to declare a schoolwide outbreak:

    • Students and staff at such schools will be asked – not mandated – to wear masks in indoor school settings for 10 calendar days, with Day 1 being the day after the 5 percent mark is reached. Exceptions to masking can be made for meals, physical education and dance classes, and outdoor activities such as athletics. Exceptions also can be made for students and staff who have a documented inability, such as an Individualized Education Plan, to mask.
    • Students and staff at such schools will be given two COVID-19 at-home tests provided through the Department of Health and asked – not mandated – to test on Day 1 and Day 3, with Day 1 being the day after the 5 percent mark is reached. Those who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for five days and can return if they mask for five more days in all indoor settings. Those who test positive for COVID-19 who cannot or choose not to mask must remain home for 10 days. Those who are otherwise symptomatic must remain home from school or work.

    The new mitigation strategies replace outbreak directives from the Department of Health in which unvaccinated students and staff who are in a class or other cohort where an outbreak has been declared are sent home for five days. It is important to note that there may be case-specific exceptions to the guidance. The 5 percent threshold will be a launching point into a deeper, more granular examination of the data, including whether the cases are concentrated or widespread. The strategies are also aimed at avoiding more extensive actions such as classrooms and grade levels – or even a school – switching to virtual learning as the result of an outbreak.

  • What is the definition of a COVID-19 outbreak and what happens when one is declared?

    COVID-19 outbreaks are declared by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health after a close examination of data of the cohort or group involved. There are generally three types of outbreaks: classroom, grade level, and schoolwide. The actions taken in response to an outbreak will vary according to the criteria met and will be determined based on discussion with the Maryland Department of Health and the Anne Arundel County Department of Health’s (AACDOH) Health Officer or designee.

    Classroom outbreaks occur when there are three or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among students, teachers, or staff within a 14-day period and those persons are epidemiologically linked but are not household contacts (such as siblings or parent/child). Regardless of vaccination status, positive cases should isolate for 5 days.

    Grade level/schoolwide outbreaks occur when more than 5 percent of unrelated students and staff at a given grade level or in a school (minimum of 10 unrelated students or staff) are COVID-positive in a 14-day period.

    Under the COVID-19 mitigation strategies implemented May 23, 2022, unvaccinated persons in an outbreak are generally no longer required to quarantine from school or work.

  • WHERE CAN I GET MY STUDENT AGE 5-11 VACCINATED? ARE THERE ANY VACCINATION CLINICS OFFERED IN OUR SCHOOLS?

    Anne Arundel County Public Schools and the Anne Arundel County Department of Health are teaming up to offer COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5-11 at elementary schools around the county.

    COVID-19 vaccinations are not required for students to attend school.

    All vaccinations will be available free of charge at clinics. Children do not have to be AACPS students to be registered for these clinics. Locations are open to anyone and do not have to be a child's home school. 

    View current vaccine dates/times here

  • WHAT OTHER OPPORTUNITIES EXIST TO GET MY STUDENT VACCINATED?

    The school system works with the Anne Arundel County Department of Health to support those in need of COVID-19 vaccinations. 

    Those over 11 years of age needing first or second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine or those seeking a booster shot will be helped by the county’s Department of Health.

    Please see this vaccination website for additional details.

  • WHAT IS THE EXPECTATION OF AACPS REGARDING STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES BEING VACCINATED?

    Anne Arundel County Public Schools no longer requires high school student-athletes participating in athletics or employees to certify they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing. Student-athletes may compete and employees should report to work as long as they are not experiencing COVID-like symptoms or under a health-related COVID-19 protocol that prohibits participation/work. 

  • WHERE CAN I FIND INFORMATION ON THE NUMBER OF CASES IN A GIVEN SCHOOL?

    Anne Arundel County Public Schools maintains a COVID-19 dashboard which provides information on cases in schools. The dashboard catalogs cases once they are entered by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health (students) or the AACPS COVID Response Team (staff). The dashboard should not be interpreted as real-time data. It can be found at www.aacps.org/covid19dashboard

  • WHAT ACADEMIC SUPPORT DOES MY STUDENT RECEIVE DURING ISOLATION/QUARANTINE?

    Given the decrease in COVID-19 case rates after Easter/Spring Break and the lack of quarantining of students as a result of the new COVID-19 mitigation strategies implemented May 23, 2022, AACPS has closed the Virtual Teacher-Coach program for students.

    All students do have access to their Brightspace classrooms while quarantined and are able to work on content assigned by their teacher through that portal. Questions about work can be directed to the classroom teacher.

  • ARE THERE CIRCUMSTANCES, SUCH AS AN ACCOMMODATION ON AN IEP, UNDER WHICH STAFF NEAR A STUDENT WOULD MASK?

    Yes, but those are extremely limited in scope. On March 24, 2022, United States Education Secretary Miguel Cardona issued a guidance letter reaffirming the national priority for all students, including those with disabilities to remain in schools.

    Secretary Cardona discussed many considerations, including ways to ensure the rights of students with disabilities to remain in the least restrictive environment be maintained. One way to ensure that students with disabilities who are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus are able to participate in school settings is for IEP/504 teams to add to the IEP a requirement for staff and students (when possible) to wear masks when around the student in question.  

    If you believe your child is “particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus,” please contact the IEP/504 team at your child’s school to discuss your concern and consider additions to the IEP/504 plan. IEP/504 teams will need medical documentation, including diagnoses of respiratory conditions or other medical conditions that result in the student being especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus and the complications of catching the virus. The medical information would be considered by the entire IEP/504 team along with the school nurse.

    In order to ensure the rights of students with disabilities who are able to remain in school, AACPS IEP/504 teams will – on receipt of medical documentation, and following an IEP/504 team decision – include the use of mask wearing by staff and/or students (when possible) working closely with a student, on the supplementary aids and services page of IEPs or accommodations page of the 504 plan.  The manner of implementation must be as specific as possible regarding the implementation of who, how, and when the masks will be worn. 

     

  • DO THE SAME ISOLATION/QUARANTINE RULES APPLY TO STUDENT-ATHLETES AS TO ALL STUDENTS?

    Yes. 

    Those who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for five days and can return if they mask for five more
    days in all indoor settings provided they are asymptomatic. Those who test positive for COVID-19 who cannot or choose not to mask must remain home for 10 days. Those who are otherwise symptomatic must remain home from school or work.

    Students and staff may not take part in or attend any school-sponsored activities during the duration of their isolation or quarantine.

    Those under any type of isolation or quarantine may not test out of isolation or quarantine early.

  • I/SOMEONE IN MY HOUSEHOLD TESTED POSITIVE ON A HOME RAPID TEST. WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?

    Contact your family physician immediately to determine a further course of action.

    If the person who tests positive is a student, families should contact the student's school. AACPS employees must complete the self-reporting form.

    In addition, report any postiive test result by using the mobile app associated with the at-home test or visit https://covidlink.maryland.gov/selfreport. If you do not have login information, register to create an account.

    If you have questions, please call the Anne Arundel County Department of Health COVID Health Line at 410-222-7256.

    Seek emergency medical care immediately if your student develops the following symptoms:

    • Trouble breathing 
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest 
    • New confusion 
    • Inability to wake or stay awake
    • Bluish lips or face

    This list of symptoms is not comprehensive or exhaustive. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

  • WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ISOLATION AND QUARANTINE, AND WHAT ARE THOSE TIME PERIODS?

    Isolation refers to the period of time that a COVID-positive person must be confined away from all other persons in a household or other setting. Quarantine refers to the period of time someone who has been in close proximity to a COVID-positive person must be confined away from all other persons in a household or other setting. 

    AACPS is no longer conducting contact tracing. AACPS will abide by the parameters of quarantines established by other agencies, such as the Anne Arundel County Department of Health as may be imposed in the case of a household close contact.

    Students and staff may not take part in or attend any school-sponsored activities during the duration of their isolation or quarantine.

    Students and staff members may return from isolation to school or work after five days provided they are asymptomatic and fever-free for at least 24 hours. They do not need a negative test to return but can return if they mask for five more days in all indoor settings. Those who test positive for COVID-19 who cannot or choose not to mask must remain home for 10 days. Those who are otherwise symptomatic must remain home from school or work.

    Students and staff members who are quarantined by another agency such as the Department of Health must do so for five days. They may return to school or work after five days provided they are asymptomatic and fever-free for at least 24 hours. They do not need a negative test to return but can return if they mask for five more days in all indoor settings. Those who test positive for COVID-19 who cannot or choose not to mask must remain home for 10 days. 

    Students and staff may not take part in or attend any school-sponsored activities during the duration of their quarantine.

    Those under any type of isolation or quarantine may not test out of isolation or quarantine early.

  • WHEN DOES THE ISOLATION OR QUARANTINE PERIOD START?

    For COVID-positive persons, the isolation period begins as follows:

    • Day 0 of the isolation period for symptomatic persons is the date of the onset of symptoms. Day 1 is the following day. The isolation period ends on Day 5 for students and staff. The COVID-positive person may return to school or work on the day after the isolation period ends  provided they are asymptomatic and have been fever-free for at least 24 hours. Per Maryland Department of Health guidelines adopted by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, those returning from isolation must mask in all public settings for an additional five days except when eating or napping.
    • Day 0 of the isolation period for asymptomatic persons is the date of the test that came back positive. Day 1 is the following day. The isolation period ends on Day 5 for students and staff. The COVID-positive person may return to school or work on the day after the isolation period ends provided they are asymptomatic and have been fever-free for at least 24 hours. Per Maryland Department of Health guidelines adopted by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, those returning from isolation must mask in all public settings for an additional five days except when eating or napping.

    For those quarantined due to exposure by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health or another agency, the quarantine period begins as follows:

    • Day 0 of the quarantine period is the date of the last exposure to a COVID-positive person. Day 1 is the following day. The quarantine period ends on Day 5 for students and staff. The COVID-positive person may return to school or work on the day after the quarantine period ends. There is no additional masking requirement for persons returning from quarantine.

    NOTE: Household contacts of a COVID-positive person who cannot isolate from that person must quarantine for the duration of that person's isolation and then begin their quarantine. As an example, if a parent is positive and a child cannot isolate from that parent, the child must quarantine for the five days of the parent's isolation and then quarantine for five additional days before returning to school. Likewise, if a child is positive and a sibling cannot isolate from the child, the sibling must quarantine for the 5 days of the first child's isolation and then quarantine for five additional days before returning to school.  

  • WHEN CAN AACPS STUDENTS RETURN TO SCHOOL AFTER TESTING POSITIVE FOR COVID-19?

    Isolation refers to the period of time that a COVID-positive person must be confined away from all other persons in a household or other setting. Quarantine refers to the period of time someone who has been in close proximity to a COVID-positive person must be confined away from all other persons in a household or other setting. 

    AACPS is no longer conducting contact tracing. AACPS will abide by the parameters of quarantines established by other agencies, such as the Anne Arundel County Department of Health as may be imposed in the case of a household close contact.

    Students and staff may not take part in or attend any school-sponsored activities during the duration of their isolation or quarantine.

    Students and staff members may return from isolation to school or work after five days provided they are asymptomatic and fever-free for at least 24 hours. They do not need a negative test to return but can return if they mask for five more days in all indoor settings. Those who test positive for COVID-19 who cannot or choose not to mask must remain home for 10 days. Those who are otherwise symptomatic must remain home from school or work.

    Students and staff members who are quarantined by another agency such as the Department of Health must do so for five days. They may return to school or work after five days provided they are asymptomatic and fever-free for at least 24 hours. They do not need a negative test to return but can return if they mask for five more days in all indoor settings. Those who test positive for COVID-19 who cannot or choose not to mask must remain home for 10 days. 

    Students and staff may not take part in or attend any school-sponsored activities during the duration of their quarantine.

    Those under any type of isolation or quarantine may not test out of isolation or quarantine early.

  • WHEN CAN AACPS EMPLOYEES RETURN TO SCHOOL OR WORK AFTER TESTING POSITIVE FOR COVID-19?

    Isolation refers to the period of time that a COVID-positive person must be confined away from all other persons in a household or other setting. Quarantine refers to the period of time someone who has been in close proximity to a COVID-positive person must be confined away from all other persons in a household or other setting. 

    AACPS is no longer conducting contact tracing. AACPS will abide by the parameters of quarantines established by other agencies, such as the Anne Arundel County Department of Health as may be imposed in the case of a household close contact.

    Students and staff may not take part in or attend any school-sponsored activities during the duration of their isolation or quarantine.

    Students and staff members may return from isolation to school or work after five days provided they are asymptomatic and fever-free for at least 24 hours. They do not need a negative test to return but can return if they mask for five more days in all indoor settings. Those who test positive for COVID-19 who cannot or choose not to mask must remain home for 10 days. Those who are otherwise symptomatic must remain home from school or work.

    Students and staff members who are quarantined by another agency such as the Department of Health must do so for five days. They may return to school or work after five days provided they are asymptomatic and fever-free for at least 24 hours. They do not need a negative test to return but can return if they mask for five more days in all indoor settings. Those who test positive for COVID-19 who cannot or choose not to mask must remain home for 10 days. 

    Students and staff may not take part in or attend any school-sponsored activities during the duration of their quarantine.

    Those under any type of isolation or quarantine may not test out of isolation or quarantine early.

  • WHAT ABOUT STUDENTS OR STAFF WHO ARE SYMPTOMATIC EITHER AT HOME OR AT SCHOOL/WORK?

    Students or staff who become symptomatic at home or who are sent home from school/work with COVID-like symptoms must get a negative test or an alternate medical diagnosis and be asymptomatic and fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school.

    Without a negative test or an alternate medical diagnosis, such persons are treated as if they are COVID-positive and must isolate for five days and can return to school or work after that time provided they are asymptomatic and have been fever-free for at least 24 hours. They do not need a negative test to return but can return if they mask for five more days in all indoor settings. Those who test positive for COVID-19 who cannot or choose not to mask must remain home for 10 days. Those who are otherwise symptomatic must remain home from school or work.

    Students and staff may not take part in or attend any school-sponsored activities during the duration of their isolation.

  • WHAT ARE "HOUSEHOLD CONTACTS," AND WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON THEM IN A COVID-POSITIVE CASE?

    Household contacts are those persons (adults or children) living in the same household as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Due to the length and proximity of contact with the COVID-postiive person, household contacts:

    • do have to quarantine for five days if they are unvaccinated and asymptomatic. They may return to school or work after five days provided they are asymptomatic and fever-free for at least 24 hours. They do not need a negative test to return but can return if they mask for five more days in all indoor settings. Household contacts who cannot or choose not to mask must remain home for 10 days.

    • do not have to quarantine if they are vaccinated or have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days as long as they are asymptomatic, but must mask in public settings for 10 days. Persons who are unable to mask or who do not wish to mask must quarantine for the full 10 days.

    • do have to quarantine and get tested if they are symptomatic, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated. With a negative test, they may return after five days as long as they are asymptomatic and fever-free for 24 hours.

    NOTE: Unvaccinated household contacts who are unable to isolate from the COVID-postive person in their household must quarantine for the entirety of the COVID-positive person's isolation and then begin their quarantine period. 

    Those under any type of quarantine may not test out of quarantine early.

  • IF MY STUDENT IS ISOLATED OR QUARANTINED, HOW DO THEY RECEIVE SCHOOL MEALS?

    School breakfast and lunch will continue to be free for all students in the 2021-2022 school year. The Division of Food and Nutrition services will make arrangements for families of students who are isolated or quarantined to pick up meals for that student. Families who have that need should call 410-222-5900.

    While meals are free, it is still necessary for families who would qualify for free or reduced-price meals to fill out a meal benefit application form. An accurate collection of data related to students eligible for free and reduced-price meals is critical to school system funding, but it also opens opportunities for families to receive additional benefits such as discounted internet access; reductions in SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement exam fees; and discounts on fees related to college applications.