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Carroll County school COVID quarantine numbers drop by nearly 600 in a week

The number of Carroll County Public School students who are in quarantine because of being a close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 has dropped by hundreds in a week.

The dashboard that tracks in-school coronavirus cases and quarantines reported last week 1,405 students were in quarantine. Wednesday, that number was 824.

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The total number of COVID-19 cases among Carroll County schools’ students and staff also dropped.

The dashboard, which updates every Wednesday, reported 197 people, including six staffers, have tested positive for COVID this week. Last Wednesday, the district reported 248 people, including seven staff members, had the COVID-19 virus.

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This was also the week the new quarantine policy went into effect. Instead of all unvaccinated close contacts having to quarantine if they came in contact with a someone who tested positive, the new policy allows those without COVID-19 symptoms to remain in school.

Although the new policy went into effect on Monday, Ed Singer, county health officer, said at the last board of education meeting the impact of the new policy may be delayed three or four weeks.

However, 581 students fell off the quarantine list.

Karl Streaker, director of student services, said the school staff is pleased to see the drop in cases. However, they are not sure what to specifically attribute it to.

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“We believe the mitigation strategies in place (universal mask wearing, social distancing to the extent possible, air purifiers in instructional spaces, etc.) are having a positive impact on reducing the spread of COVID-19 within our schools,” Streaker said in an email. “In addition, the new exception from quarantine granted by the health department is greatly reducing the number of students placed in quarantine.”

Carroll students and staff have had a mandatory mask mandate on school property for three weeks now. CCPS was the only district in the region to start school without masks until a General Assembly committee implemented a universal mask mandate for the public schools a week later.

This week’s dashboard numbers showed of the elementary schools, Manchester and Ebb Valley had the most number of COVID cases at 11, and Linton Springs had 10.

At the middle school level, Sykesville had 16 cases while Northwest had 12, an 11 person drop since the week before.

On the high school level, Francis Scott Key has the most case numbers of all the schools in the county with 32, a 10-person increase since last week. The high schools with the second highest number of cases is Century and Manchester Valley at 6.

The state dashboard that tracks in-school outbreaks, when one person transmits the virus to another person, showed five CCPS schools had outbreaks: Ebb Valley Elementary with two people testing positive for the virus, Mechanicsville Elementary with three people, Mount Airy Middle with two, Shiloh Middle with two and Northwest Middle with 27.

In mid-September, students at Northwest Middle School had to learn virtually for two days after the school temporarily closed due the number of COVID-19 cases and concerns about close contacts.

The state’s dashboard updates every Wednesday as well but does not always reflect the same numbers as Carroll’s.

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