Home Education School Zone: COVID-19 status in schools in the District of Columbia

School Zone: COVID-19 status in schools in the District of Columbia

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School Zone: COVID-19 status in schools in the District of Columbia

In this week’s school zone issue, we’ll look at the state of the pandemic in DC schools.

Welcome to the school district, a weekly WTOP publication on the latest topics and trends in education in the DC region.

The state of COVID-19 in schools in the District of Columbia

What is it: In the weeks leading up to winter break, many Columbia schools have switched to virtual learning due to an increase in coronavirus cases.

At the time, the omicron option caused a setback, and both teachers and students were sick. Now, during the first school spring without mask requirements, the cases are growing again.

З everyone who is 5 years of age or older is now eligible for the vaccinehospitalizations and deaths across the region remain low, and the total number of cases is not as high as in December and January.

But now the rate of spread is increasing, with weeks left before the school year. Schools conduct standardized tests at the end of the year as they address issues such as unknown causes and treatment of “long-term COVID” and lower levels of vaccination among young people.



DC’s father Becky Raine told us that among her many people who have been able to avoid contracting the virus for the past two years are now sick.

What it means: In Montgomery County, Maryland, the state’s largest school district, more than 3,000 student and staff cases have been reported in the past 10 days. according to school data. The COVID school dashboard does not include historical data, so it’s hard to see how the current surge compares to an omicron wave.

However, there is historical evidence of student quarantine. So far in May, more than 13,500 students have been quarantined. That’s close to more than 15,100 students who are quarantined during the peak of the omicron surge in January.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, in May nearly 4,000 students tested positive on COVID. That’s higher than the approximately 3,000 students who tested positive in January during the Omicron wave.

The DC city school system reports weekly data. The 451 cases recorded in the week of April 24 were the highest since the week of January 23, when the winter surge ended. Even more cases increased during the weeks of May 1st and 8th. Last week, the city reported 63 cases. Data for the current week are not yet available.

The big picture: Health officials have said that what happens in schools is reminiscent of what happens in society. If the number of cases in society increases, one should expect an increase in the number of schools.

In Montgomery County, Sherwood Elementary School became the first school to ask all students and staff to wear masks indoors in response to a positivity level of about 11% since First reported by Bethesda Beat.

The State Board of Education revoked the authority on school masks in February, which means that the decision on whether to recommend a return to masks remains with each school system.

Ann Arundel County the school board this week called on schools with a positivity rate of 5% and above to restore masks inside.

In Fairfax, Dr. Ben Schwartz of the county health department told WTOP that more than 40 schools survived the outbreak, which the Virginia Department of Health described as three or more cases in the classroom. More than 100 classrooms have reported three or more cases, he says.



County has not changed prevention strategies, but has updated some aspects of response. Now that there are four outbreaks in schools, home testing kits are being distributed, and schools are being encouraged to consider other prevention measures during extracurricular activities for seven days.

Some DC parents said that because there are no school mask requirements, students in a class with a positive case are considered close contacts and should wear masks.

In general, some jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia, the District of Montgomery and the District of Fairfax, now have experiencing “average” community transmission as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And health experts said that in the presence of tests at home, district-level data do not paint a complete picture.

The pace of the conversation: Dr Schwartz, director of the Epidemiology and Public Health Division of the Fairfax County Department of Health, said “COVID still has a significant ability to disrupt people’s lives”.

Arlington’s father, Miranda Turner, attributes the county’s testing program to staying and said the current increase in cases is less devastating in schools. However, she told WTOP: “I know a lot of people who now have COVID or who have had it for the past few weeks.”

Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz said this week that five county kiosks are conducting an average of 4,000 PCR tests a week, the highest number since December.

In the District of Columbia, Reina said teachers and other faculty members don’t talk much about COVID because “people are exhausted and feel left out by decision-makers at all levels”.

[Read more coronavirus news on WTOP.com, and a special thanks to WTOP web writer Jack Moore for helping sift through COVID data for this week’s edition! Read Jack’s reporting on the state of the pandemic in Montgomery County online.]

Bowie’s math teacher is named Teacher of the Year

This week a math teacher at Bowie High School was named Teacher of the Year in Prince George County.

We caught up with Valerie Bonk of WTOP, who was on hand for an unexpected announcement.

Teacher of the Year in Prince George County Public Schools Evelyn Polycarpio. (WTOP / Valerie Bonk)

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about Teacher of the Year in Prince George County?

A: Teacher of the Year in Prince George County is eighth-grade math teacher Evelyn Polycarpia of Benjamin Tasker High School. She has 35 years of teaching experience, including 14 in Prince George County.

The principle of Benjamin Tasker’s high school was: “She is the most beautiful, the kindest, the most sensitive person, the most industrious and the most devoted.”

She has successfully brought students to math competitions both locally and internationally.

Polycarp says she is inspired by students.

Q: How would you describe her reaction to the news?

A: Polycarp told WTOP that she was very surprised by the news when it came in. She is the first teacher in Benjamin Tasker to receive the award. Last year the school had a finalist.

She said: “I didn’t do anything extra. I did not expect this. I just did my job. “

Q: Apart from recognition, has she received anything else?

A: Kaiser Permanente awarded the school and Polycarpio $ 2,000 for upgrading the technology of her class. The school also received $ 2,500 from Kaiser Permanente for supplies and other items. Pala Carpia also received a laptop for personal use as part of the price.

[Read Valerie’s full story on the teacher of the year on WTOP.com]

By numbers
Here I look at some of the data that caught my eye this week.

This week, Howard County Executive Director Calvin Ball and the county council unveiled plans to put an additional $ 5 million into the school system budget.

The revised budget, county officials said, would be used to fund:

  • 150 special education positions
  • about 80 places for preschoolers
  • 19 jobs for the behavioral health and well-being of students
  • and 14 jobs to support the opening of the county’s first new high school since 2005.

[Read more about Howard County’s budget on WTOP.com]

What Scott reads

  • The state report blew up Virginia’s public schools [InsideNova]
  • Prince William Co. expands summer school programs [WTOP]
  • Masks are again recommended in some schools by Anne Arundel Co [WTOP]
  • Recipe for healthy students: add gardening and cooking to school [Washington Post]
  • FCPS offers a policy on social media, drawing the line between professional and personal speech [FFX Now]
  • Public interaction, mental health, staff retention are major challenges in the school board race [Bethesda Beat]
  • Washington School for Girls celebrates 25 years [NBC Washington]
  • Billions in Covid-Relief school funds remain unspent [Wall Street Journal]
  • With an in-depth set, “seismic shock” in public schools [NY Times]

Field trip

Here is an interesting thought before the weekend.

Sunday weddingsA: We are going to New York to visit our second Sunday wedding in the same number of months. Do Sunday weddings have a moment? I am most excited about the Happily Ever After Party, which should start after the reception.

Stay in touch: Do you have an idea of ​​school history that we need to know about? Send it on sgelman@wtop.com.

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