Carroll County Times
Carroll County Education

More than 800 Carroll County students, teachers and staff in COVID quarantine

Carroll County Public Schools reported Friday that 803 close contact individuals are in quarantine because of possible COVID-19 exposure.

Students have been attending in-person learning for more than a week and as of Wednesday, 136 had COVID-19 out of more than 24,000 students and 2,000 staff, according to its dashboard. However, the dashboard did not report the number of people in quarantine because of close contact with people with COVID-19.


Masks were optional for Carroll students, teachers and staff at the start of school on Sept. 8 as the district was only one of two in the state without a mask requirement. However, a joint General Assembly committee voted Sept. 14 to implement a universal mask mandate in the public schools, which went into effect at CCPS the following day.

Ed Singer, county health officer, said “theoretically” the number of close contacts would have been lower if students wore the masks at the start of school, but he does not know for sure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated the a close contact can be anyone within 6 feet distance without a mask, or 3 feet with one.


Singer, who recommended the board implement a mask mandate at the start of school, said he is concerned about the number of people in quarantine, noting the difficult balance between maintaining kids’ safety and keeping them in school.

Close contacts who are exposed to a person with COVID may attend school if they are vaccinated and asymptomatic. With the mask mandate, students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student do not have to quarantine if both the infected student and the exposed student correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time.

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When students are in quarantine, they have access to a learning management system where their work is uploaded, according to the system’s return plan. They are expected to work asynchronously, however, student services coordinator will link families with teachers if students need additional support.

Carroll County does not have a virtual learning option. It was taken away after staff said there was not enough parents interested in it.

The public school system’s COVID dashboard now shows positive cases and people in quarantine.

The dashboard, which updates weekly on Wednesdays, first posted data last week showing 91 people with the virus and in quarantine after the first day of school on Sept. 8. There were 13 staff and 78 people on the list. This week, only 5 staff have the virus but so do 131 students.


The interface reflects active confirmed positive cases for each week. And, as a result, the students and staff listed as positive are in quarantine. Once they have completed the protocol to return to school, their cases are not considered active.

It’s hard to compare school districts because implementation of CDC regulations varies, but Montgomery County, the state’s largest district, had 1,000 students and staff in quarantine, according to media reports. And the 136 cases in Carroll is much higher, as a rate, than other Baltimore-area districts. The city was reporting 218 cases with three times the students and Baltimore County reported 185 cases with more than four times the students.

Although the public school systems followed similar schedules, the prevalence of COVID-19 cases across the districts can be difficult to compare because of variations in population density, enrollment and class sizes. Differences in how school districts test for COVID and apply federal health and safety guidelines can also affect the number of students and staff required to stay home or quarantine.