Dear LMSD Community,
First, I want to thank you for you cooperation and understanding regarding last night's message about the return to masking in LMSD buildings and on buses, after the CDC changed the Montgomery County COVID-19 Community level to "high." The CDC determines this county-specific level weekly. Last night, when the CDC posted the change, our goal was to communicate to you the CDC's guidance for this new level as quickly as possible. Today, I would like to provide a bit more context and clarity regarding that decision, especially now that Montgomery County Office of Public Health (MCOPH) has expanded on the intent of their guidance.
Today, we received clarification that the CDC and MCOPH guidance strongly recommends, but does not require, indoor masking when the community is in the high level. In alignment with that update, our District is now strongly recommending indoor masking while Montgomery County remains in "high." This applies during the school day and to after-school events and activities in school buildings.
Last night's move to "high" status for Montgomery County was not necessarily surprising. If you look at our District COVID dashboard, you will see that we have been experiencing a high number of cases among our students and staff over the past few weeks. We have also had about two dozen classes, teams, student organizations and other core groups in "outbreak" status, as well as COVID-related staffing challenges, in the past two weeks.
Although the vast majority of these cases have not resulted in serious illness or hospitalization in our students or staff, they have impacted attendance in school and at activities. As we head into the final weeks of school, with so many culminating activities that the students and staff have been working toward and looking forward to, it makes sense to do what we can to ensure maximum participation and limit the number of students and staff who have to stay home due to required quarantines and isolation.
I know that these changes can be disconcerting and even disheartening, as we would all like to put COVID-19 behind us. But I trust that everyone in our community understands that our Board and Administration are doing our best to consistently follow the guidance and/or requirements of the CDC and MCOPH to make what we think are the best choices for our students, staff and families, as we move toward the end of this school year.
Thank you again for your flexibility as we continue to follow the recommendations of our public health authorities.
Khalid N. Mumin, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools