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In-person and Meal Site Update

In-Person Learning Closures
- Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys

An important update about in-person learning is available for Stadium School:
Read the Update


Meal Site Closures

The meal site at John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle School will be closed until, April 23. Produce boxes will still be available on Thursday, April 15. For alternative meal sites, please visit our meals page.

Expires on 4/23

COVID-19 Screening and Testing Program

Asymptomatic screenings and symptomatic testing

Baltimore City Public Schools is excited to announce its plan for COVID-19 testing, including two types of testing for students and staff participating in optional in-person learning opportunities – no-symptom screenings (asymptomatic/persons with no apparent COVID-19 symptoms) and testing when individuals exhibit COVID-19-like symptoms (symptomatic). 

 

Parent consent is required for in-person learning, which includes COVID-19 screenings or testing. Please download the consent agreement (English or Spanish), review it and return it to your school.

In order to keep our community safe, City Schools has developed robust health and safety protocols for in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the latest medical research, best practices, and input from the Baltimore City Health Department, our public health advisors, and other stakeholders. 

The addition of no-symptom, or asymptomatic, screenings are part of a comprehensive health and safety strategy offered by City Schools. This new tool further enhances the strong health and safety measures City Schools already has in place including social distancing, face masks, health screening, hand washing, desk shields, contact tracing and symptomatic testing for staff and students.  

Below are sections about each type of COVID-19 testing or screening. For general resources regarding the risk of COVID-19, visit our links section on our Health and Safety Webpage. If you have questions, please email them to communications@bcps.k12.md.us.

Free testing for individuals who exhibit COVID-19 like symptoms

City Schools provides free COVID-19 testing when students or staff at learning sites display common COVID-19 symptoms. Examples may be found on page 15 of the Health and Safety Guide. A mobile van will visit the school and provide screenings when needed.

Students and staff with symptoms, as well as close contacts, are eligible for testing on-site. A mobile van will visit the school and provide testing when needed. Trained staff will insert a small swab, similar to a Q-Tip, into the nose of the individual with symptoms. School staff will call their parent/guardian to pick their child up promptly after their test. Parents who are on-site at the time their child is tested may also be tested along with their child. 

The testing is conducted by expert medical staff through an agreement with the State of Maryland, the University of Maryland Medical Center, and the University of Maryland Pathology Associates. 

Results are only shared with the school and the individual or parents. If a student or staff member tests positive, the school community will be notified, and the individual and their close contacts will be quarantined

If a parent of a student with symptoms of COVID-19 declines testing for their child through City Schools’ symptomatic testing program, they must test their student through a third-party. The student may not return until they receive a negative COVID-19 test.

No-symptom screenings for high school students (screening with no apparent COVID-19 symptoms)

City Schools, through a contractual agreement with Shield T3 Health, will conduct saliva-based testing for students and staff at high schools.  This screening provides early detection of COVID-19, even when individuals have no apparent COVID-19-like symptoms. 

High school students and staff will be individually tested each week through a self-administered saliva-based test offered by Shield T3. Test tubes are then sent to a mobile lab operated by Shield T3 located at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.  The test takes minutes to administer and provides results within eight hours of delivery to the mobile lab. 

Parents, staff, and students may download an app that will give them their child’s COVID-19 test results each week. Details on how to download the app will be released before testing begins.

Students and staff will be tested regularly, meaning weekly to start. Testing cadence may adjust over time in line with the CDC's guidance about the recommended level of testing based on the community conditions. 

If a student or staff member tests positive, the school community will be notified, and the individual and their close contacts will be quarantined.

For an example of the screenings, please watch this video in English | Spanish

Other resources
  • Infographic for users – English | Spanish
  • Frequently asked questions - English | Spanish is coming soon

No symptom early detection screening for elementary students (screening when no apparent illness)

Students in elementary grades will participate in pooled, or group, screenings through a contractual agreement with Concentric by Ginkgo. This screening provides early detection of COVID-19, even when individuals have no apparent COVID-19-like symptoms. 

Groups of students and staff in classroom pods will use short swabs to self-administer the collection of their own sample that will be included in the pool. Each group's samples will be tested together, providing a single result for each group. The swabbing process is gentle: unlike the “brain tingling” deep penetration COVID-19 tests, the swab test used by City Schools does not require more than a swab around the inside edge of the nose. Results for each group test will be made available to City Schools.

Students and staff will be tested regularly, meaning weekly to start. Testing cadence may adjust over time in line with the CDC's guidance about the recommended level of testing based on the community conditions. 

If a pool tests positive, then all students and staff in the class will be notified and asked to quarantine for 14 days. Families will be invited back to school the following day to receive an individual PCR test through the symptomatic testing process, described above. Through this test, families will receive individual results for their child. 


For an example of the pooled screening test piloted by City Schools, please watch this video:

Other resources
Why is City Schools offering free COVID-19 screenings?

Screening tests are an important addition to the robust health and safety protocols that City Schools has developed for in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the latest medical research, best practices, and input from the Baltimore City Health Department, our public health advisors, and other stakeholders. Screening tests are early detection tools. They help identify people positive with COVID-19 to isolate quickly, and their close contacts can quarantine. This helps to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduces the likelihood of outbreaks.

How often will my student be tested?

Students and staff will participate in screening testing regularly, meaning weekly to start​. Testing cadence may adjust over time in line with the CDC's guidance about the recommended level of testing based on the community conditions. In addition to screening testing for all students ans staff, City Schools provides symptomatic testing whenever students or staff in schools display common COVID-19-like symptoms.

Is there a cost to participate in the COVID-19 screenings?

No. There is no cost for students to participate in City Schools testing program.

Am I required to sign the consent agreement?

Yes, you are required to sign the consent agreement to participate in in-person learning.

Participation in in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic means that families are choosing to have their child join a learning community in which the actions of each student and staff member impact the health and safety of other members of the community.  In order to keep our in-person communities safe, City Schools has developed robust health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic that require all of us to do our part.  

COVID testing, both for individuals with symptoms and no-symptom (or asymptomatic) screening testing, is one more part of this comprehensive health and safety strategy offered by City Schools to keep safe everyone participating in in-person learning. 

Families may choose to opt-out of the City Schools Testing Program. For details on how to opt-out of the City Schools testing program, please reach out to your student’s principal. However, if they do so, they must conduct their own third-party testing in line with the schedule required by their school. 

Can parents accompany their students during the testing.

Unfortunately, no.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 being introduced into the building, parents will not accompany their children during the screening testing. We understand that this may feel scary, particularly for younger children. Students as young as kindergarten can self-administer their own screening test, which doesn’t hurt. Students at City Schools and across the country who have participated in this testing adapt to it quickly! School staff will help to ensure the screening is performed swiftly, gently, and in a positive environment for all children.


For symptomatic testing, School staff will call their parent/guardian to pick their child up promptly after their test. Parents who are on-site at the time their child is tested may also be tested along with their child. 

What if my child cannot be screened due to their documented disability?

Staff will work with parents to ensure that students with disabilities are prepared for screening testing and that it is conducted in ways that are sensitive to children’s needs. If your child has a documented disability and you are concerned that screening would impair your child’s mental or physical health due to that disability, please contact your child’s school to discuss how to proceed.

What happens if my student becomes anxious and does not want to take the tests?

We will do our best to complete the test, but we may need to skip your child on that particular day. You should talk to your child about testing. We encourage you to tell them that the school needs to make sure they are healthy. Remind your child that the test doesn’t hurt, is quick, safe, and gentle, and keeps them safe.

If your child is anxious, we will do our best to support your child, make them comfortable and encourage them to complete the test, but we may need to skip your child on that particular day.

Through our piloting of the elementary screenings, we have tried pool testing at two of our schools gaining experience and insight into conducting pool testing with elementary students. Through that experience, we have not found students to be anxious but generally found them to find the test both easy to do and comfortable.   

What if I have questions?

Please review the material on this website, and contact your child’s principal if you have additional questions.

What if my student tests positive?

Elementary School Screening Tests: If a pool tests positive, then all students and staff in the class will be notified and asked to quarantine for 14 days. Families will be invited back to school the following day to receive an individual PCR test. Through this test, families will receive individual results for their child. Regardless of the student’s individual results, their whole class will be asked to quarantine for 14 days because someone in the class has tested positive for COVID-19. The school will also put out its formal notification of a positive case and follow disinfecting protocols.
 

High Schools Screening Tests:  If a student tests positive through the individual salivia-based test, they will be taken to the wellness room, and their parent will be informed immediately to pick the student up from school. City Schools will notify the Baltimore City Health Department, and the school will cooperate in contact tracing. Anyone identified as a close contact will also be sent home and will be required to quarantine. The school will put out its formal notification of a positive case and follow disinfecting protocols.

When will I receive my child’s results?

For symptomatic testing (for individuals exhibiting COVID-19 -like symptoms): Students and staff typically receive results within 24-48 hours after the test. 


For asymptomatic screenings (individuals who do not exhibit COVID-19-like symptoms: Students and staff typically receive results within 24-48 hours after the test. 


Elementary School Screening Test: If a pool tests positive, school staff will call the impacted families immediately to notify them. If the class tests negative, families will not receive a notification from the school.


High School Screening Test: Parents may download an app that will provide them with their child’s individual COVID-19 test results each week. Students and staff typically receive results within 24-48 hours after the test. Details on how to register for the app will be released before testing begins. 


Please note that City Schools and the test providers are not, and are not acting as, my child’s medical provider, and this testing does not replace treatment by my child’s medical provider. Parents should follow up with a medical provider to determine appropriate action with regard to their child’s test results.

Does everyone still have to wear masks and practice social distancing?

Yes. Testing does not replace the other important steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19: wearing face masks, maintaining physical distance, and hand hygiene, and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces.

If my child is currently participating in digital learning, does he/she need to be tested?

No. Remote students are currently excluded from having to be tested since they are not in-person in a school district building.

How will my students' testing or screening results be used?

Samples will be tested for COVID-19 in laboratories by test providers working under an agreement with City Schools. Results will be shared with City Schools, students’ parents/guardians, and test providers, and they may also be shared with the Maryland Department of Health and the Baltimore City Health Department but only for public health purposes (such as notifying close contacts of your child if they have been exposed to COVID-19, and taking other steps to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in your school community).

Results will be used in accordance with all applicable laws, Board policies, and City Schools regulations protecting student privacy and the security of your child’s data.

No medical research will be conducted as part of this program. City Schools and its contractors monitor aspects of the COVID-19 virus, such as tracking viral mutations by sequencing viruses and microbes in samples collected through the program, for epidemiological and public health purposes. 

What happens if my student tests positive?

If a student taking a symptomatic test has a positive result, the student must be picked up from school promptly after receiving an on-site COVID-19 test through the partnership with the University of Maryland Medical System. The student cannot return to in-person activities until they receive a negative COVID-19 test or are released to return to in-person activity from an authorized health care provider.

If a screening pool tests positive using the asymptomatic test for elementary school, all students and staff in the class will be notified and asked to quarantine for 14 days. Families will be invited back to school the following day to receive an individual PCR test. Through this test, families will receive individual results for their child.

If an individual tests positive using the asymptomatic test for high schools, all students and staff in the class will be notified and asked to quarantine for 14 days. Families will be invited back to school the following day to receive an individual PCR test through the symptomatic testing process, described above. Through this test, families will receive individual results for their child.

Why am I required to get an individual follow up test?

Pooled testing occurs anonymously for each learning pod or classroom - each student submits a sample. If any of the samples from a learning pod or classroom indicate a potential positive COVID-19 case, an individual test is required to determine which of the students is actually positive. 

City Schools provides follow-up testing through its mobile testing lab partnership, or a family may receive a test from a third party.

What happens if my child's pool tests positive?

We will notify you by letter if your student’s learning pod has a positive result or if there is a positive result anywhere in the school.

If your student's pool tests positive, the learning pod or classroom will be temporarily closed. Students will be advised to quarantine for 14 days and cannot return until they receive a negative test through the City Schools mobile testing program or a third party.

If there is a pooled positive result, is the school safe?

Pooled tests are administered by a learning pod or classroom, and those learning pods are isolated from one another. For this reason, if a positive case occurs in one learning pod then other pods will not be impacted. 

If there is a positive case in a learning pod, only that learning pod will close. We will notify you by letter if your student’s learning pod has a positive result or if there is a positive result anywhere in the school.

Why not just test individuals?

Pooled testing is an efficient method to test for COVID-19 in groups even if symptoms are not apparent. This provides a great early warning that COVID-19 may be present in a learning pod and that further testing is needed.

What if my student's sibling is in a pool that tests positive?

This question is about two students that are siblings but are not in the same learning pod or school. The question assumes one of the siblings is in a pod that tests positive.

The student in the learning pod that tests positive will:

  • Quarantine with the other members of the learning pod that tests positive, and they should receive an individual COVID-19 test to verify if they have the virus.
  • If they do not test positive individually, the student is considered a close contact of someone that has COVID-19.

The student in the learning pod that does not test positive:

  • No quarantine is needed unless their sibling returns a positive result during an individual COVID-19 test. If that occurs, the student should quarantine and be tested individually.
  • If the sibling does not test positive, this student is an indirect contact and no further action is necessary.