GCPS requires universal masking indoors for all staff and students regardless of vaccination status. Indoor universal masking will take effect on Monday, August 30, 2021.
Community Transmission Rate:
The community transmission rate will be entered each Friday and reflect a six week period of time.
The CDC updated its COVID-19 guidelines, urging residents who live in counties with substantial or high levels of community transmission to wear masks in indoor spaces, no matter their vaccination status.
How the CDC classifies transmission levels:
• Low: 0-10 new cases per 100K residents over the past week or 0-5% positivity rate
• Moderate: 15-50 new cases per 100K residents over the past week or 5-8% positivity rate
• Substantial: 50-100 new cases per 100K residents over the past week or 8-10% positivity rate
• High: 100+ new cases per 100K residents over the past week or 10%+ positivity rate
You can monitor the community transmition at CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker
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As indicated above, Garrett County Public Schools will adhere to the state-wide emergency regulation (COMAR 13.A.01.06, Face Coverings in School Facilities), that was approved by the Maryland State Board of Education on August 26, 2021 and subsequently approved on September 14, 2021 by the Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR) Committee.
This regulation requires any person inside a school facility as defined as a building, enclosed structure, or school bus/vehicle to wear a face covering. Appropriate accommodations will be made for students and staff who meet exemption requirements as defined in the law. Mask guidance aligned to CDC guidance can be found by "CLICKING HERE"
In accordance with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and Center for Disease Control federal order as well as the Maryland State Emergency Regulation (COMAR 13.A.01.06) all individuals (students, bus drivers, attendants, etc.) on a school bus must wear a face mask. Appropriate accommodations will be implemented for those who meet mask exemption requirements as defined by the Maryland State Emergency Regulation. GCPS will provide masks to those students who need them including on buses (i.e: students who forget to bring their masks or students whose families are unable to provide a mask).
Mask Requirements for Athletics and Extra-curricular Activities:
The indoor universal masking will apply to indoor extra-curricular activities as follows:
- Students actively participating in game play or practice indoors will not be required to wear a mask. Otherwise, students are required to mask.
- Coaches, directors, volunteers, and spectators are required to wear a mask while indoors.
- Spectators are encouraged to socially distance to the greatest extent possible indoors and sit in family pods.
Federal Mask Order for Transportation
In accordance with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Center for Disease Control federal order, all individuals on a school bus must wear a face mask. The Center for Disease Control's (CDC) Order applies to all public transportation conveyances including school buses. Regardless of the mask policy at school, passengers and drivers must wear a mask on school buses, including on buses operated by public and private school systems, subject to the exclusions and exemptions in the CDC’s Order. For example, if a student attends a school where mask use is not required due to vaccination status (e.g., a high school with a high rate of vaccination), the student is still required to wear a mask on the school bus. GCPS will provide masks to those students who need them (including on buses). For example, students who forgot to bring their masks or students whose families are unable to afford them. 2
Staff and students are authorized to use their own face coverings. Any logos or embellishments must meet the standards for what is appropriate for schools. Ideally face coverings should be held on the face by loops around the ears. GCPS will provide face coverings if students or staff wish to have them provided.
GCPS will provide social- emotional instruction specifically to support the personal choice of wearing a mask or not when masks are encouraged and not mandated.
Students should be frequently reminded not to touch their face or face covering and to wash their hands frequently. Face coverings are different from masks that GCPS may provide to select job classes when masks are required to perform specific GCPS assigned work (i.e. changing filters, use of certain products/solvents to perform custodial or maintenance work, and for nurses).
CDC About Face Coverings