Forty-one Frederick County Public Schools staff and students reported positive coronavirus cases to the school system’s health services office last week, according to FCPS’ updated health metrics dashboard.

The school system became the first in the state to resume operations for the fall semester last Wednesday, welcoming back nearly 44,000 students. Within three days, 13 staff members and 28 students had tested positive, according to the dashboard, which is updated weekly.

However, FCPS spokesman Brandon Oland said Monday afternoon the school system remains free of coronavirus outbreaks. As defined by the state’s health department, “classroom/cohort” outbreaks are when two or more positive cases are identified within two weeks of each other among people who were in contact with one another at school but don’t share a household. “School-wide” outbreaks are when 5 percent or more students and staff test positive for the virus within a 14-day period, or when there are three or more classrooms or cohorts that meet the state’s definition.

Though Oland said the school system wishes there were no cases to report, he noted that officials haven’t been surprised by the numbers so far, especially considering the level of virus circulation in the surrounding community. Frederick County has been considered an area of high coronavirus transmission by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more than a week.

The county tallied 69 new cases on Monday and reported a seven-day positivity rate of 7.05 percent — higher than the state’s rate of 4.97 percent.

“We’ve been pretty clear that this was a possibility,” Oland said. “We’re in regular contact with the Frederick County Health Department, and what’s happening right now is pretty consistent with what they’ve been saying for several weeks.”

Oakdale High School reported the most infections last week with four positive cases among students, according to the school system’s dashboard. Oakdale Middle School and Urbana High School each reported three cases among students.

When a student or staff member tests positive, the school system initiates contact tracing to determine who has been within 6 feet of the infected person for 15 minutes or longer. Those identified as “close contacts” will be required to quarantine at home for at least seven to 14 days, unless they are fully vaccinated — or tested positive for the virus in the last 90 days — and remain asymptomatic.

If a student tests positive in an indoor classroom setting, students who stayed at least 3 feet away from them wouldn’t be required to quarantine under CDC guidelines if both students were wearing well-fitting masks and if the school had implemented other prevention strategies such as physical distancing and increased ventilation. This exception doesn’t apply to teachers, staff members or other adults in indoor classroom settings, according to the CDC.

Currently, the school system doesn’t share information on the number of students and staff members who are in quarantine on its health metrics dashboard, though Oland said on Friday it would take a “hard look” at changing this. A “small number” of students and staff across FCPS were told to quarantine last week due to coronavirus exposure, Oland said.

Besides implementing quarantine procedures, FCPS has also mandated face coverings in school buildings and enhanced ventilation and cleaning protocols in its facilities. Schools have asked families to keep their children home if they are feeling sick or exhibiting coronavirus symptoms.

Ultimately, Oland said, FCPS wants to do the best it can for students and provide the in-person learning they so desperately need.

“We’re definitely doing all we can,” he said, “but the unfortunate reality is that we’re still in a pandemic.”

Follow Angela Roberts on Twitter: @24_angier

(81) comments

mrnatural1

From the CDC:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/delta-variant.html

"Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to be infectious for a shorter period: Previous variants typically produced less virus in the body of infected fully vaccinated people (breakthrough infections) than in unvaccinated people. In contrast, the Delta variant seems to produce the same high amount of virus in both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people. However, like other variants, the amount of virus produced by Delta breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people also goes down faster than infections in unvaccinated people. This means fully vaccinated people are likely infectious for less time than unvaccinated people."

"Vaccines are playing a crucial role in limiting spread of the virus and minimizing severe disease. Although vaccines are highly effective, they are not perfect and there will be vaccine breakthrough infections. Millions of Americans are vaccinated, and that number is growing. This means that even though the risk of breakthrough infections is low, there will be thousands of fully vaccinated people who become infected and able to infect others, especially with the surging spread of the Delta variant. Low vaccination coverage in many communities is driving the current rapid and large surge in cases associated with the Delta variant, which also increases the chances that even more concerning variants could emerge."

From Yale Med:

https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/covid-breakthrough-infection-transmission

"The CDC added that breakthrough infections “occur in only a small proportion of vaccinated people and of the breakthrough infections, transmission by the vaccinated appears to only be a small part of overall spread of the virus.” But the CDC says it does not yet have data on the likelihood of asymptomatic spread among vaccinated people."

mrnatural1

[Once again, no "+Add Reply" button. Forums do not have problems like this...]

On Aug 24, 2021 @ 9:06am, NewMarketParent wrote:

"I am not a HVAC specialist, but do have some basic knowledge. I think they mean special filters that will scrub viruses.

They will not go back and retrofit HVAC for these schools with a permanent fix as it would be too cost prohibitive from what I've observed."

~~~

That's a good idea. The problem is that the filter must be able to pass a certain volume of air (CFM) with minimal pressure drop across the filter.

They would need to drastically increase the filtration surface area in order to get reasonable airflow at the required efficiency.

Give enough space that could be done, but I'm guessing that as a retrofit it would not be possible in most cases.

NewMarketParent

@mrnatural1

The problem is that it seems like it would just be a bandaid because it can only be done system-wide. You can't really isolate individual classrooms in that scenario and if kids are masking and keeping socially distanced (they can't because our schools are packed), it's really a moot point.

mrnatural1

NMP,

I doubt anything I've mentioned will be done, for any number of reasons -- impractical/impossible; too expensive, etc.

That said, I don't understand this statement of yours:

"...it would just be a bandaid because it can only be done system-wide. " -- Isn't that the goal -- system-wide?

Also:

"You can't really isolate individual classrooms in that scenario...". -- IDK what sort of HVAC systems the school buildings have, but if (say) they are a much larger version of a typical home system with supply and return ducts, then the classrooms would be isolated to a large degree. Return air would go back to the air handler here it would be filtered through very efficient 3M Filtrete (or similar) filters. So the return air would be commingled, but then it would be filtered before being sent back to the classrooms.

And:

"... if kids are [not] masking and keeping socially distanced (they can't because our schools are packed), it's really a moot point. -- It certainly would be better if they would wear masks and maintain a reasonable distance from each other, but if my (highly unlikely) master plan could be implemented, it would certainly help -- perhaps it would be even MORE helpful to filter the air if the kids are not complying with the guidelines. Seat belts and air bags are both good, but either one alone is better than nothing.

One reason this may all be academic is because all of the school buildings may not have ductwork. I'm old enough that A/C sort of followed me around -- when I left a school, it got A/C the very next year. I recall rushing to the next classroom at Sykesville Middle to get a seat in front of the fan. I do not think those older buildings had ductwork -- I believe they used boilers for heat -- so I'm not sure how the A/C was retrofit. Maybe through-the-all units? Anyway, hopefully the FCPS buildings are new enough that they have ducted A/C.

Even if they do, as I mentioned, it's probably not a simple matter of replacing the existing filters with higher efficiency filters. Most systems are designed for those lame filters that will only capture something the size of a cotton ball. That's a *slight* exaggeration, but you can see right through them. If a system uses those filters, something would have to be done to increase the number of filters -- probably dramatically -- to maintain the same airflow.

Mr. Natural's Heating & A/C stands ready to retrofit all FCPS buildings. Heck, why stop there? All county buildings too. j/k

NewMarketParent

@mrnatural1

I think the filters I've seen are active as in they require electricity to work and I think the systems are rather large and bulky. This might make them impractical for returns.

I do believe in defense in depth and anything/everything helps lower risk, but if kids aren't following basic CDC guidance on masking and distancing, I feel like an HVAC solution is trying to put the horses back in the barn.

If they have wall/window units, I don't know if those help much as they are only pushing air through the building are aren't part of a traditional central air system.

Particle size is definitely an issue when talking about using passive filters. The AC units may not be able to work well when forced to push/pull air through filters with hole sizes much smaller than they were designed for.

I hope this all makes sense because I am doing a million things at once.

NewMarketParent

@mrnatural1

I had a typo.

If kids AREN'T masking and keeping socially distanced.

ValerieDale

41 students and staff after 3 days, with a virus that has an incubation period of 2-14 days. I wonder what the number is today and what it will be in one week and what it will be on the 14th day of school and how many schools will be closed again in 10 days from now. I hope every other school district is watching our 'first in the state to open' to make sure they don't repeat our district's mistakes. Remember next November.

NewMarketParent

@ValerieDale

Yup.

Frederick County is the control group in this experiment.

ValerieDale

From the NYT/JHU's Bloomberg School of Public Health, published today, " Unvaccinated people in Frederick County are at an extremely high risk for Covid-19 infections. The average number of new cases in Frederick County reached 65 yesterday, a 7 percent increase from the day before. Because of high spread, the C.D.C. recommends that even vaccinated people wear masks here. Since January of last year, at least 1 in 12 people who live in Frederick County have been infected, and at least 1 in 744 people have died. "

gabrielshorn2013

So, because of some folks stupidity, we made the NY Times? Yay for us. Get the damned shot, and wear the damned mask folks!

Plumbum

Same thoughts went through my mind. If this many on day-1, how many next week? How many grand parents will be infected?

NewMarketParent

@Plumbum

At this point the most effective weapon we have is the vaccine for seniors is the vaccine.

tonyc51

Actually 28/44000=.0..0636% for students. For all employees approximately 0.345% (21/6088); if all were teachers approximately 0.00448 ( 21/2900) staffing from FCPS info website. Seems to be under control considering the alternative of uneducated generation. Just a question how many of the staff/teachers testing positive had not gotten the vaccine, but could have?

vodalone

Even the vaccinated individuals can catch the virus and pass it on, that's something we didn't know after the trials. The vaccines were rolled out and promoted based on the "You'll be fully protected" motto. That obviously isn't the case, I can't help but to think we've been sold somewhat of an inferior product.

Awteam2021

There’s a superior product?🤷‍♂️

NewMarketParent

@vodalone

Bro.

Do you even percentage?

You ever seen the back of a bottle of hand sanitizer? It says 99% effective. What do you think the 1% is?

Both vaccines are around 90% effective against the variant that they were created for. Delta came out after they were introduced. They are effective against Delta, but not nearly as effective as they were against the strain they were originally created for. What magic did you actually believe in because I knew that even vaccinated, that there is about a 10% chance that I could become infected.

I also knew that (because it was talked about at length) that people who have been vaccinated could still get COVID, but most likely would not die from it (and that still seems to be holding).

Like who told you that the vaccine was magic? You really need to go to that person and ask to borrow their magic wand.

vodalone

Bro. You do realize you can catch and spread the alpha variant with the vaccine too right? It's not just about the Delta variant. Poof, your argument just went out the window.

NewMarketParent

@vodalone

R.I.F.

You really didn't even read anything I wrote.

The vaccine is about 90% effective. I never said it was magic. I said that those numbers were against the original strain. 90% < 100% or are you having trouble with inequalities too?

gabrielshorn2013

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] NMP!

NewMarketParent

@vodalone

I do know that I said the vaccines were around 90% which is not 100%.

But even if I catch COVID, I'm unlikely to need to go to the hospital.

But most likely I won't catch COVID because I am masking and only leaving the house when I absolutely need stuff.

Greg F

Nice spin try - as you well know variants don’t follow the rules, AND they still work well to keep you from getting sick or dying. Knock off the Fox News fake mantra already V. Nobody said fully…more like 95% at best and that’s if you didn’t have underlying conditions…or acted like an idiot exposing yourself to variant possibilities. Wait for the next variants we will see thanks to the massless morons and antivaxxer wingnuts.

vodalone

@ Greg F aka NewMarketParent. Okay, let me break down a couple simple things for you. Since vaccinated people can still catch and transmit the virus (both original strain and Delta), the virus can mutate within a vaccinated person as it can within an unvaccinated person. That's not something we knew when the trial date was reviewed. I personally am vaccinated for my own reasons, however I don't see an unvaccinated person as some untouchable, they have their own reasons and I respect them, one major reason being long term effects of fast tracked vaccine. That cannot be refuted. If people overwhelmingly start to get cancer or some other disease in a few years because of the vaccine, I for one will probably concede I should have waited to get the jab, but I know many as yourself who will go to the grave yelling and screaming you did the right thing lol. Good for you I guess lol.

NewMarketParent

@Greg F

I didn't realize we were the same person. I guess you, I and Purple Pickles share a brain.

NewMarketParent

@Greg F

We really are gonna be stuck indoors for the next year because of these stupids, aren't we?

jth7100

No one ever said that 'you'll be fully protected". In fact it was made clear that 100% was never a realistic goal.

NewMarketParent

@vodalone

Transmission of the virus is different from it killing you. The vaccine is good at keeping you from getting seriously ill. It does not stop you from catching it. It seems to have increased the amount of asymptomatic carriers though which is why everyone is begging everyone else to go back to masks.

Please learn some actual science before you go around spreading misinformation. Don't be reckless to your fellow humans.

vodalone

@NewMarketParent I'm not arguing that the vaccine reduces the chance of hospitalization and death, why are you side stepping the topic at hand?

NewMarketParent

@vodalone

How am I sidestepping the argument and what other bad faith argument are you having?

vodalone

@NMP ::Sigh::

You're under the impression being vaccinated will stop new variants from emerging, to which I said.....

Okay, let me break down a couple simple things for you. Since vaccinated people can still catch and transmit the virus (both original strain and Delta), the virus can mutate within a vaccinated person as it can within an unvaccinated person. That's not something we knew when the trial date was reviewed.

Next time, just please save us all some time and scroll up the comments history.

NewMarketParent

@vodalone

I did not say that the vaccine would stop the variants from spreading. I literally have no idea where you got that from.

The vaccines seem to blunt the effects of the variants. I haven't seen any hard data on how well they protect against the variants.

The more hosts the virus has, the more likely we will get variants. The next variant may be more infectious and less phased by the vaccine which is why we are racing against the clock to get people to mask and get vaccinated.

newspostreader

At no point were we promised the vaccine would cause us to be "fully protected". No vaccine is 100% and it's been clear from the start that you could still get it, but most likely would not have a severe case.

gabrielshorn2013

Oh come on now vodalone. Any competent medical professional or microbiologist knows that no vaccine is 100% effective, not measles (97% after 2 jabs), not smallpox (95% take rate), not polio (90% after two jabs), and no such claim was ever made for CoViD-19 vaccines. Also, not everyone who gets the vaccine will develop such a transient infection later. Some may, but most won't. The delta variant wasn't around during the trials either, and is the variant causing such transient infections. However, it is doing its job in keeping those who get infected out of the hospital ICU. Look at the vast majority of the folks overwhelming the ICUs. That's right, the unvaccinated. They are taking up beds that are needed for heart attacks, strokes, and crash victims. If they had taken the vaccine, they most likely would not be there. You cannot argue with the numbers.

mrnatural1

Good comment gabriel. [thumbup][thumbup]

jth7100

I love your sarcasm. 41 in 3 days. Seems to be under control. Ever heard of geometric progression in real estate?

NewMarketParent

@jth7100

This really is 41 in like 1 day because the tests take 48 hours to get the results from.

patomd969

44,000 students in FCPS. 28 students tested positive. .06% tested positive. How many are in hospital? How many have died? What was the average daily absence rate in FCPS pre-covid?

fredneck

AMEN patomd969

NewMarketParent

@patomd969

Dude. This is just day one really. COVID deaths don't usually come that fast. This can only get worse.

shiftless88

NMP; it is amazing to me that after a decade of people talking about a video going viral, they still don't grasp the concept.

NewMarketParent

@shiftless88

This is why we shouldn't let people who struggled with basic math and science influence policy.

NewMarketParent

@paomd969

Also, do you understand the concept of exponential spread?

Here is the simple breakdown

I call my 2 friends and they call 2 friends and so on and do on.

gabrielshorn2013

Correct NMP, and that's with a R0=2. SARS-CoV-2 has a R0 between 6 and 8. So I tell 6 friends, and they each tell 6 friends, and each of them tell 6 friends, and so on, and so on. Just like that old shampoo commercial, but worse.

NewMarketParent

@gabrielshorn2013

Thank you, but geezus that is depressing. I didn't realize it was between 6 and 8. This is gonna get really bad.

Hayduke2

Apples to oranges and pure deflection. Get real pato....

NewMarketParent

@patomd969

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exponential_growth

Jthomas515

It’s gonna happen. Covid will sweep through almost all people over time. It will be common and seasonal. Slowly we will adapt to it like the common cold. Why are we still shocked at all this?

Plumbum

People are dying. Nothing like a common cold. No one is shocked. People are concerned and cautious and for good reason.

Reading and learning makes a difference

fredneck

99.8% survivable

NewMarketParent

@fredneck

I'm sure sacrificing a few of us is a risk you are willing to take. Also, your stats are wrong. I believe we are at 98.3% survivable at this point.

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality

Also, let's just all go ahead and discount Long Haul COVID that will reek havoc on people and probably cause quite a few premature heart attacks, circulatory problems and chronic illness. We should all just make that sacrifice of our loved ones and children for the herd.

Dwasserba

with life altering aftereffects for some.

Awteam2021

Not if more test positive over the coming months. Right?

Hayduke2

fredneck - are you vaccinated?

newspostreader

fredneck - 99.8% survivable - With many of those surviving having long term medical issues as a result.

Brookhawk

Because it's been far more deadly than a cold or the flu. Because the youngest among us don't have access to a vaccine. Because a lot of us are old enough to remember polio and how it ruined the lives of some of our friends until we got and took the vaccine. And if you can predict what Covid is going to do, you are kidding yourself. This is not the flu, a cold, or anything else. What we need to do is use approaches that work to keep the rates down - vaccines, masks, social distance - so the hospitals don't get overwhelmed like they are in the south, and maybe what you predict will eventually come about. But who knows? And who knows when the next pandemic will come along? There always is another pandemic. Always has been another pandemic. Find the tools to get through and use them, then keep vigilant and flexible because things change.

NewMarketParent

@Jthomas515

I'm not shocked. I am not sending my kids to school because I don't want my children to be part of the control group.

jth7100

Which common cold killed over 600,000 Americans?

mgoose806

41 out of 44000. .000010% of students. Why is this news

public-redux

Back to math class with you. 0.1%.

C.D.Reid

Agreed, public. 0.0932 to fine tune it.

newspostreader

41 cases in 3 days. I'd say that is why it is news. That number seems pretty high to me for such a short period of time.

NewMarketParent

@newspostreader

Because this isn't really just 3 days. This is from day 1 because tests aren't instantaneous.

NewMarketParent

@mgoose806

Because that is really just from the first day.

It typically takes 48 hours to get the test back. That means that those people likely infected others especially since Delta is way more contagious. This means that this is gonna get worse.

Brookhawk

"Only 15 people have it. It will be gone by Easter. Why is this news?"

MD1756

Because it is "Within three days..." Knowing that the spread of the virus is not linear and knowing that the school calendar is at least 180 days, that should answer your question right there. I am all for reducing the world's population, but not through death by Covid where people are basically suffocating until something else finally ends it. We could just ask all the nonvaxers to sacrifice themselves for the good of the rest of us and the planet,. That would just about end the transmission of the virus, would help decrease the population in a more humane way, and possibly provide a boost to the gene pool. (please note, there is some sarcasm in my comment).

NewMarketParent

@MD1756

Unfortunately you are right. But the antimaskers/antivaxers are like that person in the zombie movie who won't tell the group that they are bitten and will just hide the bite mark.

mrnatural1

MD -- conveniently, the reduction in population would be just about the amount called for by 11,000 climate scientists -- about 50%.

Of course a more gradual reduction would be much better...

Now that a vaccine has full FDA approval, the antivaxxers truly have no legitimate excuse left.

NewMarketParent

@mrnatural1

We've seen this already. They are just moving the goalposts. I just can't with these people. I am fighting for all of us and especially my unvaccinated kids (they are both under 12).

There is a disinformation machine in FB and it is literally killing people. I don't know if society can continue to function with FB in place.

jth7100

Because it happened this soon with students in school.

mrnatural1

What are "enhanced ventilation protocols"?

How can they increase the amount of ventilation?

Plumbum

The school buses now all have ragtops. Haven’t you seen them?

NewMarketParent

@mrnatural1

At this point I wouldn't be surprised if it was just FCPS spraying Lysol.

mrnatural1

[wink] NMP.

IDK what type(s) of HVAC system the school buildings use, but the only way to increase ventilation is to introduce fresh outside air somehow. Needless to say, it's impractical to just open the windows (on many days anyway).

The only relatively efficient way that I'm aware of is an 'air-to-air heat exchanger'. They aren't cheap, and every classroom would need at least one.

Crab0721

Good luck with that. Obviously you have never been to some of the older schools because they have had nothing done to them in over 30 plus years and don't even get me started on the portables that they are using!!!

NewMarketParent

@mrnatural1

I am not a HVAC specialist, but do have some basic knowledge. I think they mean special filters that will scrub viruses.

They will not go back and retrofit HVAC for these schools with a permanent fix as it would be too cost prohibitive from what I've observed.

jsklinelga

'Mr.Natural

Don't know for sure but assume they are using air filters with an high HEPA rating.

NewMarketParent

@jsklinelga

I believe you are correct on this particular thing.

Dwasserba

In tai chi class we learned a swishy routine with hand held fans but if we were invited to intervene our invitation has not arrived

mrnatural1

Just saw your comment jsk.

If that's true then maybe there is not much more that can be done.

Regardless of the type of filtration the FCPS buildings have, there is certainly something better, but it may be prohibitively expensive and/or all but impossible to retrofit.

Here's a good EPA article on the subject:

https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/air-cleaners-hvac-filters-and-coronavirus-covid-19

They say that while HEPA filters aren't a cure-all, they do help -- both in HVAC systems and in portable/room air purifiers.

Plumbum

This returning to school only bogs down and clogs up the hospitals, funeral homes, etc. Opening schools with it being well known that the Delta variant is strong and deadly is just poor decision making.

Please do the right thing and return to computer schooling.

Crab0721

It's coming just a matter of time!!!

NewMarketParent

@Crab0721

Looks like it. *SMH*

I hate being f'ing Cassandra.

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