Gayles Asks Private Schools to Consider Return to All-Virtual Instruction

Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles (March 2020).

On Thursday, Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles asked private schools to consider a return to fully-virtual instruction.

In a letter, Gayles said a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the county will make it hard to maintain the current low rate of transmission in schools. He also cited that as of Tuesday, the county’s 7-day average case rate was 22.6 per 100,000 and the 7-day average positivity rate increased to 5.4% in the past two weeks.

On Friday, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) reported 282 new COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County. This is the eighth consecutive day the increase in daily cases is more than 200.

Gayles urged all schools to “strongly consider” going 100% virtual until metrics improve. According to the MDH, four private schools in the county have experienced positive cases as of Wednesday:

  • Bullis School, Potomac: 8 cases
  • The Heights School, Potomac: 4 cases
  • St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Potomac: 2 cases
  • St. Elizabeth School, Rockville: 2 cases

All schools must decide how to move forward and upload a decision to the county’s COVID-19 portal by Dec. 4, the letter said. Gayles also asked all schools to give the health department a status update.

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Maryam Shahzad

About Maryam Shahzad

Maryam is a reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She graduated from the University of Maryland in December with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. Previously, she was an intern with MCM. Maryam loves visual media and always says the movie is better than the book. She can be reached at or on Twitter @maryam_mcm.


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