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2021 Press Releases

Posted on: July 26, 2021

Montgomery County Releases COVID-19 School Recommendations for 2021-2022 School Year

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NORRISTOWN, PA – The Montgomery County Office of Public Health (MCOPH) today released recommendations for COVID-19 prevention in K to 12 schools for the 2021-2022 school year. MCOPH, in collaboration with Montgomery County Superintendents, have developed these recommendations to prevent COVID-19 transmission in the school environment for the upcoming school year.

“The health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff, and ensuring our kids get the instruction they need, are top priorities heading into the school year. These recommendations from the Montgomery County Office of Public Health are intended to give School Boards, Superintendents, and parents guidance so they can make the best decisions for their communities and their families,” said Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “This guidance supports in-person education, is based on the most current and accurate data available, and stresses the importance of vaccination for those who are eligible along with a multi-layered prevention strategy.”

The school recommendations include four levels of guidance for masking and COVID-19 testing based on school district level of community transmission. 


Level

Low 

Moderate

Substantial

High

Definition

0-9 cases per 100,000 and <5% positivity

10-49 cases per 100,000 or 5-7% positivity

50-99 cases per 100,000 or 8-9.9% positivity

100 to> 100 cases per 100,000 or >10% positivity

Masking Recommended Indoors; Vaccinated

No

No

Yes

Yes (universal masking policy takes effect)

Mask Recommended Indoors: Unvaccinated

No

Yes

Yes

Yes (universal masking policy takes effect)

Masking Recommended Outdoors; Vaccinated

No

No

No

Yes (universal masking policy takes effect)

Mask Recommended Outdoors: Unvaccinated

No

Yes, in crowded outdoor settings and sustained close contact with other unvaccinated people.

Yes, in crowded outdoor settings and sustained close contact with other unvaccinated people.

Yes (universal masking policy takes effect)

COVID-19 Testing of Students in High Risk Sports/Activities

No

Yes for unvaccinated students

Yes for unvaccinated students

Yes for vaccinated and unvaccinated students

COVID-19 Staff Assurance Testing

No

No

Yes for unvaccinated staff

Yes for vaccinated and unvaccinated staff


The new school recommendations also include prevention strategies on promotion of the COVID-19 vaccine, recommending staff and students stay home when sick, and guidance on physical distancing. It also provides updates on ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, cleaning and disinfection, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine.

To download the school recommendations with full details, click here.

To keep school districts and residents updated on COVID-19 community transmission, the County has launched a new section with school district-level data on its COVID-19 data hub. To find this data, navigate to the "Incidence and Positivity" heading and select "District" under "COVID-19 Rates by School District/Municipality." This section will be updated weekly on Wednesdays. 

“We have reviewed all of the current guidance from all relevant public health authorities to make these new recommendations and will continue to follow the data,” said Dr. Richard Lorraine, Medical Director with the Montgomery County Office of Public Health. “It is important to acknowledge that in making these recommendations, we are reviewing all of the potential effects, both positive and negative, of the proposed mitigation strategies. In addition, being able to provide this local school district-level data is key to inform decision-makers at the local level.”

For more information, residents can visit the County’s school guidance page at www.montcopa.org/schoolguidance

Media Contact: Kelly Cofrancisco, kcofrancisco@montcopa.org

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