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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About Maryam Shahzad

Maryam is a reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. Previously, she was an intern with MCM. She can be reached at mshahzad@mymcmedia.org or on Twitter @maryam_mcm.

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