Thurmont Elementaty & Primary News
Health & Safety - August 2021
The health and safety of our school community is always a top priority. While we are all excited to return to fully in person learning we must also all remain committed to taking care of ourselves and one another. This newsletter includes all pertinent FCPS information related to COVID-19 health and safety strategies, contact tracing and quarantine.
We are in this together and appreciate your ongoing support!
Yours in education,
Michele Baisey & Karl Williams
Maintaining the Health and Safety of the Entire School Community
FCPS has provided clear guidance to administrators regarding COVID-19 mitigation strategies. This guidance is found in the Administrator Handbook and is updated regularly based on current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and the Frederick County Health Department (FCHD). The guidance document addresses universal and correct wearing of masks, physical distancing, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, and contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine.
Health and Safety Strategies
After reviewing the guidance from CDC, AAP, the Maryland Department of Health, and working in close collaboration with the officials from the Frederick County Health Department, FCPS will be requiring face coverings for all students and staff inside our school buildings. This requirement allows us to support two priorities:
- Preserve in-person instruction for our students
- Prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and community
Masks will be made available to those students and staff who need them (including on buses).
The safety of students and staff are the first priority for FCPS. As indicated by the CDC, daily cleaning and disinfecting of school buildings should be sufficient to remove potential viruses that may be on surfaces. Custodial teams will place special emphasis on frequently-touched surfaces in their daily cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Examples of high-touch surfaces include: pens, counters, tables, doorknobs, handles, stair rails, elevator buttons, desks, keyboards, phones, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If a school has had a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 24 hours, the spaces they occupied will be cleaned and disinfected. To facilitate effective disinfecting, each school has been provided an electrostatic backpack sprayer, and each secondary school will also receive one misting machine to facilitate the disinfecting in large areas, including physical education and athletic spaces. FCPS Custodial Services Office will ensure adequate provision and distribution of cleaning supplies, EPA approved disinfectants, and microfiber cloths.
Maintenance has modified the ventilation schedules such that the occupied mode begins two hours prior to staff arrival and continues through the end of the school day. Staff may not open doors and windows due to security and health concerns. Maintenance procured and installed upgraded filter media (i.e., MERV-13) in air-handling equipment, where existing air-handling equipment will accommodate such media, as recommended by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers in response to COVID-19.
Good hand hygiene— regular handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available—reduces the spread of germs that can cause illness, especially if done at key times throughout the day. FCPS installed an additional 1,800 dispensers to extend the current installation of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to every classroom, and hand soap is readily available at sinks throughout each school. Hand washing is still the preferred method of cleaning hands, but hand sanitizer is available for when hand washing is not possible. Proper hand washing and hand sanitizer usage will be reinforced by staff with students, and time will be built into the day for washing hands.
While FCPS will begin the 2021/2022 school year fully operational with all student access, both adults and students will be required to wear face coverings while indoors in order to support the health and wellbeing of every school community member. The Superintendent will periodically review health metrics to determine when and if this requirement can be relaxed.
Daily COVID-19 Screening
FCPS is asking for your help keeping all our schools and communities safe. Please review the list of COVID-19 symptoms below with your student prior to leaving for school every day. You will be provided a weekly communication reminder of this requirement. Students who are ill or are experiencing symptoms are expected to remain at home.
Parents/Guardians are required to screen their student(s) daily with the following to three questions:
(a) Has your student tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days?
(b) Has your student been in close contact* with anyone who is either a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19?
(c) Is your student currently experiencing or displaying, any ONE of the following COVID-19 symptoms?
- Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) or higher
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- New onset of severe headache
- New loss of taste or smell
If the answer is YES to any of the above statements, your student should not come to school. Please contact your healthcare provider with any questions regarding next steps for your student.
* Unvaccinated students in a PK-12 school who are within 3 feet for 15 minutes of close contact in a cumulative 24-hour periodThank you for your cooperation.
Health & Safety Resources
As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic we know there are ongoing questions related to how we are keeping our schools safe for fully in person learning. FCPS has provided the resources below to assist families in understanding how we respond to individuals who are symptomatic, those who test positive and those who are identified as close contacts. Please review these resources which outline our systemic response protocols.
Health Room Contact Information
- Thurmont Primary Health Room - 240-236-2806
- Thurmont Elementary Health Room - 240-236-0932
Our school nurse and/or health tech is available to support you!
- All FCPS schools will ask for parents to "kiss and go" during drop off at school. Parents, or other family members, will not be permitted to escort students to their classroom.
- If/when you have an in person appointment at the school please ring the doorbell, answer the screening questions posted on the front door and report to the main office for assistance.
- Bring a photo ID with you any time you are visiting the school.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to maintain health and safety during our full in person reopening!