Update on PGCPS Mask Mandate from CEO Monica Goldson
(update sent on 2/25/2022)
Dear Prince George’s County Public Schools Community:
Earlier this week, the State Board of Education provided additional flexibility to school districts in making decisions about mask mandates.
We have done our best to exercise due diligence at every turn, especially for our youngest learners, who more recently received access to the COVID-19 vaccine. I want you to know that masks will continue to be required for now inside our schools and office buildings. Students may remove masks outdoors while at recess and participating in spring sports.
With the continued improvement of public health conditions, I anticipate easing our mask mandate by the end of the school year. According to Maryland State Department of Education’s previous guidance, I will remove the mask mandate once the county population reaches 80 percent full vaccination based on the Maryland Department of Health metrics. We have time to work through what this change will mean for all members of the PGCPS community, including those with medical conditions, in addition to our testing and quarantine policy and day-to-day operations.
Our layered approach to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, includes enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols, free vaccinations, free weekly testing for unvaccinated employees, and random student testing. We have provided free KN95 masks and take-home COVID test kits. In December, we returned to virtual learning through mid-January to stop the surge of the Omicron variant — a decision that has paid off for our students, employees and families.
This is the final week of our take-home testing program. I am pleased to report the number of positive cases among students has consistently declined each week, from 888 that first week to 246 this week.
I want to empower all parents and employees to make the right decision for their children and families. At whatever point the mandate is lifted, please note that masking would be optional, not prohibited.
My commitment to the health and wellbeing of the PGCPS community is strong. We will follow the recommendations of healthcare professionals while continuing our mitigation strategies and evaluating how to implement changes to our mask policy.
I thank students, employees and families for being diligent with their own health and safety measures. We are making progress and we are turning the corner.
Monica Goldson, Ed.D.
Chief Executive Officer