It’s no secret that the Omicron variant of Covid is having a major impact in our area. The first 3 cases were reported on December 12 and more cases soon followed. As of December 15, nearly 3% of all new cases were attributed to omicron. While Governor Hogan has ruled out statewide lockdowns, Prince George’s County Public Schools is taking steps to stop the spread in its buildings due to a sharp increase in cases across the county.
On December 17, Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Monica Goldson made the surprise announcement that all schools were returning to virtual learning beginning Monday, December 20. This came one day after 3 schools were moved to virtual learning because of a sharp increase in cases.
According to the email send out from Goldson’s office “In light of the stark rise in COVID-19 cases throughout our school system, all students will transition to virtual learning, effective Monday, December 20 through Thursday, December 23. Winter Break will proceed as scheduled, Friday, December 24 through Friday, December 31, and virtual learning will continue Monday, January 3 through Friday, January 14. In-person learning will resume Tuesday, January 18, following the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; students in the K-6 Virtual Learning Program will return Monday, January 31.”
Goldson stated that she made this decision after having daily contact with the Prince George’s County Department of Health. Her email to the community stated “The increased positivity rates have significantly challenged the ability to do so, causing anxiety among many school communities and disruption to the school day.”
According to Gov. Larry Hogan in an interview with Fox News on December 19, Covid hospitalizations are “up about 150% over the past two weeks." That is an eye-opening number for those who believe that we are done with Covid. In the final line of CEO Goldson’s email to the community she writes “I strongly encourage all of you to take every precaution against COVID-19, follow social distancing protocols and get vaccinated.” Sounds like solid advice for everyone, not just those with children in public schools.