BREAKING: Somerset County Public Schools shut down due to rising COVID-19 cases
WESTOVER, Md. — Somerset County Public Schools (SCPS) announced Thursday that they will temporarily close all schools for in-person learning beginning Monday, November 9th through to Friday November 27th, due to a rise in the county’s COVID-19 cases — as well as an increase in reported COVID-19 cases among students and staff in the past two weeks.
Somerset County health metrics reported by the Maryland Department of Health on November 5th, indicate a 7.9% seven-day average positivity rate and a daily case rate of 22.9 per 100K, exceeding state recommended benchmarks for safe in-person learning. Over the last 14 days, school district officials have also observed a 2.45% increase in the county’s 7-day positivity rate and a 1.68 increase in case rate per 100,000, exceeding the state recommended benchmarks for reassessment of in-person school programs.
SCPS says they’ve consulted with and received the support of the Somerset Health Department regarding the decision to close. We’re told evidence of community spread of COVID-19 has been observed in parts of Princess Anne, Deal Island and Crisfield, with schools in each part of the county impacted by staff or student absences due to illness or self-isolation requirements for exposed individuals.
The school district says all students receiving in-person instruction at SCPS will transition to virtual learning during the closure to reduce contact between students and staff, and to allow for additional sanitation of school buildings. During the closure, student meals will be available for curbside pickup at each school location between 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Officials say all teachers are instructed to telework, and all 12-month employees are instructed to telework at the discretion of their immediate supervisor during the closure.
At this time, SCPS is scheduled to reopen for in-person learning on Monday, November 30th and they will provide updates to the community as the situation develops.