A second outbreak of COVID-19 has been confirmed within Frederick County Public Schools.
According to the school system, three people in a classroom cohort at Middletown Elementary school have tested positive for the virus.
This instance, announced Monday night, follows two cases reported at Linganore High School last week.
The Maryland Department of Health defines an outbreak as at least two confirmed cases among students, teachers and/or staff within a 14-day period and that are epidemiologically linked but not household contacts.
According to an FCPS email, contact tracing was conducted at the school in collaboration with the Frederick County Health Department, and any close contacts of the people who tested positive were contacted and advised to quarantine at home, monitor their symptoms and consult their health care provider.
In the email, FCPS stated it believes the risk of exposure to others is low but that they are sharing the information out of caution.
Despite the confirmed cases, small-group instruction will continue at the school.
Superintendent Terry Alban said in an email that any decision to suspend small-group instruction would be made in collaboration with local health officials.
“If we needed to quarantine the group of students, we would first suspend small-group instruction for a classroom. Whether or not it was deemed necessary to then suspend instruction for the entire school would be a decision made in collaboration with the health department,” Alban said.
When asked if a certain number of cases would warrant suspension of small-group instruction, Alban said the number of cases is less important than how the cases are linked.
“Everything is evaluated on a case-by-case basis,” she said.
As of Dec. 1, there were 15 students attending small-group instruction at Middletown Elementary, according to Alban. Whether staff or students, people who were contacted through contact tracing and asked to quarantine at home have returned to virtual learning.
The areas of the school where positive cases were identified will be cleaned according to CDC protocols.
Frederick County reported 146 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday and three new deaths related to the virus. Altogether, the county has seen 8,966 cases and 155 deaths.