WASHINGTON - Students in Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County are back in the classroom Monday for in-person learning as COVID-19 cases continue to grow nationwide due in part to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
School districts across the region – and across the country – have reopened for the fall semesters with a range of safety protocols in place to try and keep students safe while in class.
In D.C., students will be randomly tested throughout the year and any child or adult who tests positive will be instructed to isolate for at least 10 days. All students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear a face mask on school grounds.
Earlier this month, D.C. lawmakers signed a letter calling for D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to mandate a full vaccine requirement -- without a testing option -- for teachers, child care providers, and D.C. government employees.
Montgomery County also requires that face masks be worn in all school buildings, buses and facilities, regardless of vaccination status. Employees are required to submit proof of vaccination or participate in weekly COVID-19 testing.
The highly contagious delta variant is spreading across the country and children are filling hospitals in record numbers -- more even than at the height of the pandemic, says a report by the Associated Press earlier this month.
Many school-aged children are too young to get the vaccine which is available only to those 12 and over.
According to an August 13 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pediatric COVID-19 hospitalization rates surged in recent weeks, reaching 0.41 per 100,000 children ages 0 to 17, compared with 0.31 per 100,000, the previous high set in mid-January. Over 400 U.S. children have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
The Associated Press contributed to this report