COVID-19 PROTOCOLS @ AACPS

  • Lcovid19ast update: January 14, 2022  


    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.

  • ARE MASKS STILL REQUIRED IN ALL SCHOOL SYSTEM BUILDINGS?

    Yes. Regulations adopted by the Maryland State Board of Education and approved by the Maryland General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review require that all persons inside school or school system facilities be masked unless exempted under the law. The regulations were approved by the General Assembly panel on January 5, 2022, and are in effect for 180 days from that date. 

  • WHAT ARE THE MASKING IMPLICATIONS FOR AACPS STUDENTS AND STAFF WITH REGARD TO THE ORDER FOR PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUED BY THE ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER ON JANUARY 7?

    The order, which expires on January 31, 2022, unless otherwise terminated or extended, states that “all persons over the age of two years in Anne Arundel County and in the City of Annapolis shall wear a face covering while indoors at any location or area where members of the public are generally permitted or while outdoors in public spaces when it is not feasible to maintain a physical distance of six feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence.” 

    It further provides the following exemption: “A person need not wear a face covering if a person is swimming, an athlete actively engaged in athletics on a field of play, or is engaging in other physical activities where the use of a face covering is likely to pose a bona fide safety risk.” 

    As such, the following apply: 

    • When outdoors at recess and other activities, students do not have to wear face coverings when appropriate distancing can occur. Masks must be worn indoors. Students at schools on Fort George G. Meade must follow the rules of the installation.
    • Students in physical education class may be unmasked while they are engaged in a portion of the class which requires strenuous physical exertion. 
    • Student-athletes may be unmasked only while actively engaged in their sport and on the field, court, track, etc. When the above does not apply, student-athletes must be masked. 
    • Dancers may be unmasked when actively engaged in the performance of a number but must otherwise be masked. 
    • Musicians, members of choral groups, and members of drama productions must be masked during all rehearsals and performances.

  • WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF HAVING A MASK ACCOMMODATION OR BEING UNABLE TO CONSISTENTLY AND CORRECTLY WEAR A MASK?

    Regardless of vaccination status, persons who are unable to correctly and consistently wear properly fitted masks, including but not limited to those with mask accommodations, must quarantine for 10 days. 

  • 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?

    As per the AACPS press release dated 9/20/21, Anne Arundel County Public Schools requires employees and high school student-athletes to certify they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing beginning November 22, 2021.

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

    Anne Arundel County Public Schools maintains a COVID-19 dashboard whcih 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). Because of case levels, this may take several days. The dashboard should not be interpreted as real-time data. It can be found at www.aacps.org/covid19dashboard

  • HOW ARE FAMILIES NOTIFIED IF THERE IS A POSITIVE COVID CASE AT THEIR CHILD'S SCHOOL?

    Schools will send email and text message notifications to families when they become aware of positive cases. At the elementary and middle school levels, messages will be sent to all families in a grade in which a case has occurred. In the case of high schools, because of the enrollment of students in different grades in the same classes, notifications, will be sent schoolwide. 

    It is important to understand that because of data input logistics and timelines, the cases noted in school messages may not immediately match those on the school system’s COVID-19 dashboard.

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

    Yes. 

    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.

    Following guidance from the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, COVID-positive AACPS students must isolate for 10 days and COVID-positive AACPS staff members must isolate for five days. The longer period for students is due to their inability to be separated during lunch periods, when they are unmasked. 

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

    Students may return from isolation to school or work after 10 days provided they are asymptomatic and fever-free for at least 24 hours. They do not need a negative test to return.

    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 must mask in all public settings for an additional five days.

    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 must mask in all public settings for an additional five 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/quarantine may not test out of isolation/quarantine early.

    NOTE: Persons who are unable to correctly and consistently wear properly fitted masks, including but not limited to those with mask accommodations, must quarantine for 10 days. 

  • 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 10 for students and Day 5 for staff. The COVID-positive person may return to school or work on the day after the isolation period ends.
    • 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 10 for students and Day 5 for staff. The COVID-positive person may return to school or work on the day after the isolation period ends.

    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 but must mask for five additional days

    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 more 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 10 days of the first child's isolation and then quarantine for five more days before returning to school.  

  • MY STUDENT TESTED POSITIVE ON A HOME RAPID TEST. WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?

    Contact your family physician immediately to determine a further course of action. In addition, report your test result to the Anne Arundel County Department of Health by calling the 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.

  • 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.

    Following guidance from the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, COVID-positive AACPS students must isolate for 10 days. The longer period for COVID-positive students is due to their inability to be separated during lunch periods, when they are unmasked.

    Students may return from isolation to school or work after 10 days provided they are asymptomatic and fever-free for at least 24 hours. They do not need a negative test to return.

    Students 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 must mask in all public settings for an additional five days.

    NOTE: Persons who are unable to correctly and consistently wear properly fitted masks, including but not limited to those with mask accommodations, must quarantine for 10 days.

  • 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.

    Following guidance from the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, COVID-positive AACPS staff members must isolate for five days. 

    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 must mask in all public settings for an additional five days.

    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 must mask in all public settings for an additional five days.

    NOTE: Persons who are unable to correctly and consistently wear properly fitted masks, including but not limited to those with mask accommodations, must quarantine for 10 days. 

  • 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.

    Following guidance from the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, COVID-positive AACPS students must isolate for 10 days and COVID-positive AACPS staff members must isolate for five days. The longer period for students is due to their inability to be separated during lunch periods, when they are unmasked. 

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

    Students may return from isolation to school or work after 10 days provided they are asymptomatic and fever-free for at least 24 hours. They do not need a negative test to return.

    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 must mask in all public settings for an additional five days.

    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 must mask in all public settings for an additional five 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/quarantine may not test out of isolation/quarantine early.

    NOTE: Persons who are unable to correctly and consistently wear properly fitted masks, including but not limited to those with mask accommodations, must quarantine for 10 days. 

  • I RECEIVED A NOTIFICATION ABOUT A POSITIVE CASE IN MY STUDENT’S SCHOOL. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Notifications are sent to families in schools where positive cases occur so that they can be aware and take steps they deem most appropriate. There is no mandated action such as testing or masking (other than where required in school settings) for students whose families receive such notifications. However, families are encouraged to:

    • Closely monitor themselves and their students for potential symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, congestion, runny nose, etc.)
    • Notify your family physician immediately should your student develop symptoms and keep your student home from school. Students who are symptomatic must be tested for COVID-19 and cannot return to school until they are asymptomatic, fever-free for 24 hours, and obtain a negative test or an alternate medical diagnosis.
    • Those with symptoms should self-isolate/separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick” bedroom or space and using a different bathroom if possible. Contact the Department of Health as described above for further guidance.
    • Call the Anne Arundel County Department of Health COVID-19 Line at 410-222-7256 if you have questions about COVID-19. Department of Health staff members will provide further guidance.
    • Whether your student is symptomatic or not, we encourage you to have them tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible. Students who test positive must isolate for 10 days and be asymptomatic and fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school.

    Students who are asymptomatic and fever-free may continue to attend school as normal.

  • 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 must isolate for 10 days.

  • 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 after five days as long as they are asymptomatic and fever-free for 24 hours but must mask in all public indoor settings (including schools and athletic activities) for five 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.

    • 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 but must mask in all public indoor settings (including schools and athletic activities) for five days. With a postive test, must quarantine for 10 days (students) or five days (staff).

    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. In such cases, a quarantine may last as long as 15 days. 

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

  • IF MY STUDENT IS 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 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.

  • CAN STUDENTS SWITCH TO VIRTUAL INSTRUCTION UNDER THE STATE OF EMERGENCY ENACTED BY GOV. LARRY HOGAN ON JANUARY 4?

    No. To answer this question, we checked with the Maryland State Department of Education. We were informed that while the Governor's State of Emergency covers various health care matters including health care providers, hospitalizations, etc., there is no reference to schools in the Executive Order. Therefore, the State emergency code is not applicable and is not a reason to request virtual instruction. 

  • CAN FAMILIES KEEP STUDENTS OUT OF SCHOOL UNDER THE STATE OF EMERGENCY ENACTED BY GOV. LARRY HOGAN ON JANUARY 4?

    In accordance with Maryland law regarding compulsory attendance, a student who is kept home for precautionary reasons will be marked as being unlawfully absent from school.

    Families who have specific extenuating circumstances should discuss those circumstances with their student's school.

    For more information, please see Board of Education Policy JB and Administrative Regulation JB-RA

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

    Approximately 24-48 hours after being enrolled in Virtual Teaching-Coaching by the school team, families will receive an email from
    Q-studentinformation@aacps.org. NOTE: The window for notification is wide due to the different organizations having to handle the information. We will reach out to families as soon as possible after we have been notified of a student’s isolation/quarantine mandate. Details will be provided in our communication to you regarding the support available for your student while isolated or quarantined.

    All Students: At this time, we will support all isolated/quarantined students with access to virtual learning activities. All students should navigate Brightspace to access their classwork. Middle and high school students will also find their assignments in Brightspace and will be offered free formal evening tutoring. The details of the supports are different by level as noted below.

    Elementary (Kindergarten – Grade 2): These students will receive Literacy, Science/Social Studies, and Mathematics live synchronous teaching from their assigned Virtual Teacher Coach daily. They will also have an opportunity to return for office hours if they have additional questions or needs for assistance.

    Elementary (Grades 3-5): These students will have will receive access to grade-based learning activities via the new Quarantine Student Brightspace courses.

    Middle (Grades 6-8):  These students should access their classroom Brightspace courses. Teachers will regularly update materials in their Brightspace courses for students;  they will provide key learning tasks, assignments, and resources. Students are encouraged to access evening virtual homework help or small group tutoring in any core subject areas where they may be struggling via our virtual tutoring. The http://www.aacps.org/tutoring website can and should be accessed for evening academic support.

    High (Grades 9-12):  These students access their classroom Brightspace courses. Teachers will regularly update materials in their Brightspace courses for students;  they will provide key learning tasks, assignments, and resources. Students are encouraged to access evening virtual homework help or small group tutoring in any core subject areas where they may be struggling via our virtual tutoring. The http://www.aacps.org/tutoring website can be accessed for evening academic support.