Carroll County Public Schools is canceling all out-of-state travel for students and staff, effective immediately and until further notice, in an effort to protect the school community from the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease it causes.
This suspension applies to all out-of-state field trips, meetings, events, conferences and athletic activities, according to a Wednesday news release from the school system.
The release reads, “Our goal as a school system is to be consistent with Governor [Larry] Hogan’s direction that all out-of-state travel for state employees has been canceled in an effort to contain any spread of the coronavirus in Maryland. When students and staff travel to another state, that effort may be compromised. The decision was also made out of an abundance of caution to minimize the risk to CCPS students, staff, and families.”
A total of 12 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Maryland as of Wednesday night. There have been more than 125,000 confirmed cases and more than 4,600 deaths globally.
At Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Steve Lockard addressed the coronavirus, noting that school officials are in communication with state and county health departments and are following directions from the governor’s office regarding the state of emergency on Maryland.
Updates on the school system’s response are available on the front page of carrollk12.org.
The school system is communicating proactively with school administrators and health rooms, officials say, but at this time there is not plan to close schools. In the event that schools close, CCPS is looking at possibilities for online educational activities. But CCPS wouldn’t look to progress students through new curriculum, Lockard said. There are issues of equity and access, such as students who don’t have reliable high speed internet service in rural areas.
Food services is also discussing options for providing meals in the event of closures. The most likely program would be a modified version of the current summer meals program.
At this point, all schools and buildings in Carroll County are fully operational, the system says, and scheduled activities within the schools, as well as travel within Maryland, will continue as planned for now.
The release also reiterated guidance regarding the coronavirus: “This decision alone cannot eliminate the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. All Carroll County citizens are reminded to increase precautions and practice healthy habits as recommended by the Carroll County Health Department."
The school system says the community that while the current local risk of COVID-19 is low, the public should consult reputable sources of information such as the school system’s website at www.carrollk12.org.
“As always, the health and safety of our students and staff are always a high priority in our decision-making process,” the release states.
McDaniel College announced on Tuesday new restrictions and guidelines for students and staff, including anyone returning to the Westminster campus after traveling. International travel affiliated with the college is prohibited, and anyone who travels on a cruise ship or to a country designated by the State Department Travel Advisory as Level 2, 3, or 4 because of the coronavirus will not be allowed to return to the campus until self-quarantining for 14 days, a college spokeswoman said Tuesday.
College officials are also “discouraging College-affiliated travel to locations within the United States where states of emergency have been declared related to significant numbers of cases of COVID-19,” the spokeswoman said.
Carroll Community College had not announced any changes related to the coronavirus as of Tuesday.
“Carroll Community College is working closely with the Carroll County Health Department [on] monitoring any new developments with the COVID-19 virus," a spokeswoman said in an email Tuesday. "The College’s COVID-19 Response Team is meeting regularly to ensure the health and well-being of our students, employees and visitors. As conditions change in Carroll County, we are prepared to respond accordingly both operationally and instructionally.”