Health Self-Screening Check and COVID Protocols

Fri, 08/27/2021 - 5:44pm

COVID-19 Self-Screening Symptoms and Exposure Reminders


COVID Self-Screening - All parents/guardians are to perform a COVID-19 health check every day before your student leaves home. Students are not to come to school if they are experiencing any symptom(s) associated with COVID-19 or other communicable disease.


Parents/guardians should keep their children home if they are experiencing symptom(s) associated with any communicable disease, including COVID-19. In addition, parents/guardians are to perform the following COVID-19 health check every day before the student leaves home.

A student should NOT come to school with any of these symptoms:

  • fever of 100.4 degrees or higher

  • sore throat

  • cough

  • difficulty breathing

  • diarrhea or vomiting

  • new onset of severe headache (especially with fever), or

  • new loss of taste or smell

For persons with chronic conditions such as asthma, the symptoms should represent a change from baseline.

Children exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 may not attend school and must be kept home.

Students exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 need to be evaluated for COVID-19 or an alternate medical diagnosis. They may not return to school until medically cleared. In addition, students with symptoms of any communicable disease may not attend school until evaluated and medically treated.


COVID Protocols


Quarantining Procedures

Contact tracing is handled by the Howard County Health Department (HCHD), with support from and in coordination with the HCPSS Office of Health Services. Only unvaccinated students and adults who are identified as close contacts must quarantine. Vaccinated students and staff will not be required to quarantine unless they receive a positive test or are displaying symptoms, however they will be expected to monitor their symptoms closely for the 14 days.

Details on quarantining requirements for unvaccinated students and staff can be found online.


Social Distancing

As families attended open houses and orientations at their child’s school, questions arose related to social distancing. The Maryland State Department of Education is requiring schools to be open for in-person instruction for all students for a minimum of 180 days in the 2021-2022 school year. This results in approximately 58,000 students returning to Howard County school buildings.

The expectation is for schools to return to normalized instruction which includes classroom desk arrangements that enable whole group instruction, small group instruction, group work, and independent rotations. Due to the number of students and staff in the building each day, social distancing is not a feasible mitigation effort.

In alignment with CDC recommendations that when one mitigation can’t be followed, others are emphasized, HCPSS has placed even greater emphasis on strategies such as universal masking and proper mask wearing, required vaccinations or weekly testing for all staff, regular hand washing and access to hand sanitizer, opportunities for outdoor eating and other cafeteria protocols, and enhanced air filtration efforts.