More than a dozen positive coronavirus cases have been confirmed in private, Catholic schools across Maryland since students returned to in-person instruction this fall, according to the Achdiocese of Baltimore.
Archbishop Spalding, which shifted its students to virtual learning last week after two COVID-19 cases were reported at the school in Severn, now has four confirmed cases, said Lauren Robinson, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese.
It’s one of seven Archdiocese schools in the state that have reported positive cases to local health authorities and temporarily moved groups of students back into remote instruction alongside their public school peers.
Robinson emphasized that the 13 cases represent a small percentage of the 16,000 students at 44 Archdiocesan Catholic schools in nine jurisdictions in Maryland, including Baltimore City.
“These cases are isolated incidents and not the result of student-to-student transmission while on campus,” Robinson said in an emailed statement.
Three cases have been reported at St. Ursula School in Parkville, and two have been reported at Monsignor Slade Catholic School in Glen Burnie, Robinson said.
One case has been reported at each of the following schools: the School of the Incarnation in Gambrills; St. Joan of Arc School in Aberdeen; Immaculate Conception in Towson; and Resurrection - St. Paul in Ellicott City, she said.
Three kindergarten student cohorts at the School of the Incarnation have transitioned into virtual learning, among nine total cohorts at schools in the Archdiocese, for a two-week period, as prescribed by state and federal health officials.
“In collaboration with the local health departments, we review all cases to determine the appropriate course of action, including the identification of close contacts and testing,” Robinson said. “We are prepared to shift student cohorts to virtual instruction as needed. Our planning and preparation for both in-person and virtual learning gives us the capability to react quickly.”
All students and staff are required to wear masks, submit to health screenings and practice social distancing while in schools, Robinson said. But she stressed the importance of following those rules after hours. The outbreak at Spalding, for instance, was blamed on an off-campus party.
“Our COVID-mitigating protocols and transparent communication help mitigate the potential spread of the coronavirus while on campus; however, it is important for all our families to follow COVID-mitigating protocols outside of school as well,” Robinson said. “Our ability to remain open for in-person instruction is dependent upon this.”