Urge MCPS Leadership to Take Actions to Prevent the Spread of Deadly COVID-19

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The rapidly evolving outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus is posing a grave threat worldwide, including the DMV area where we call home.  Maryland confirmed three positive cases on March 5, and it was disclosed that one of the three patients attended an event in the Village at Rockville on Feb 28, from noon to 6 pm, with 70 to 100 people also in attendance. 

On March 7, the MCPS sent an email to many parents to provide a coronavirus update regarding Wooten cluster schools. It states in the email “MCPS leadership spoke directly with officials from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and they have shared that individuals from our school community who visited the facility days after the Feb. 28 event are not at risk of contracting the virus.”

Many students from both Thomas S. Wootton High School and Robert Frost Middle School volunteered at the Village at Rockville after Feb. 28. We are extremely concerned that these individuals are considered NOT at risk of catching the virus. The incubation period for COVID-19 can be as long as 24 days or longer. Some people who have contracted COVID-19 may not even exhibit any symptoms but can still be contagious.

We all know the deadly impact COVID-19 has had on many countries such as China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Iran. Despite these countries’ best efforts to control it—including shutting down cities—thousands of people still died. This is a highly contagious infectious disease that no one has dealt with before. There is no vaccine or cure for it at this point. It’s far worse and dangerous than a bad flu. If this outbreak became out of control, the consequences will be devastating.

We strongly urge MCPS to take this matter more seriously and take the following actions quickly to prevent the spread of COVID-19 before it's too late: 

1. Urge individuals from our school community who visited the Village at Rockville days after Feb. 28 to closely monitor themselves for any symptoms and self-quarantine for 14 days.

2. Require MCPS teachers, staff members, and students, who have come in contact with people tested positive for COVID-19, to self-quarantine for at least 14 days and consult their health providers.

3.  Grant MCPS students the flexibility to stay at home due to coronavirus concerns. Based on the experience of many countries badly affected by COVID-19, one of the best ways to prevent COVID-19 from spreading is home isolation to minimize the contact (through touching or breathing in space without enough ventilation) with other people.

4. Make learning materials accessible and create remote teaching/learning opportunities in case a school close down is warranted.

5. Cancel any non-urgent students meetings or gatherings to minimize the risk of infection. So far we still see many meetings, competitions, and gatherings are scheduled to take place. With the potential risk of COVID-19 spreading, these gatherings may pose high risk to the larger community when students from different schools meet together in spaces without enough ventilation.

6.  Thoroughly clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces in school facilities; re-emphasize to students the importance of practicing good hygiene such as cleaning hands using soap and water or hand sanitizer and avoiding touching mouth/eyes/nose.

7.  Move up or reschedule Spring Break to reduce ahead of time the chance of the spread of COVID-19 in schools. Or, move some off days from summer break to spring. 

If you are in agreement with these proposed actions, please sign this petition to show your support.

We really hope with the combined efforts from MCPS and the community, we can prevent COVID-19 from spreading, and keep its impact to the minimum. 

Thank you! If you have any questions about this petition, please contact me at geliang999@yahoo.com.