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Hundreds In Quarantine After First Week Of Classes in Baltimore County


Nearly 800 students and staff are in quarantine following the first week of classes in the Baltimore County Public Schools. The school system reported they are people who came in close contact with someone in a school or in the community who tested positive for COVID-19.

173 students and staffers tested positive for COVID. More than half of those cases, 90, were in elementary schools.

The county schools’ head nurse, Debbie Somerville, said that’s because elementary school children are not old enough to be vaccinated and they make up about half of the county’s students.

She said more than half of the county’s students who tested positive were never in school.

“They were reported to us, but they were not cases that happened in buildings,” Somerville said

Somerville said the overall quarantine and infection numbers are about what they expected, based on COVID rates in the community. She said most positive COVID cases are reported to the school system by families and staff, but some are discovered by school nurses.

“Our school nurses have COVID tests, both rapid antigen and PCR tests and have been conducting those this week on students who came to school and developed symptoms while at school,” Somerville said.

She said parents with children old enough to be vaccinated for COVID need to get them inoculated.

“It not only helps them not catch COVID, but it prevents them from being quarantined from school,” Somerville said.

Children under 12 are not yet eligible for the COVID vaccine.

The school system continues to hold vaccination clinics at select schools.

Baltimore County’s school year began one week ago. School officials said they have plans in place to continue in-class learning five days a week, no matter how many people are infected or must be quarantined.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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