In-person learning in St. Mary's County on hold after COVID-19 outbreak

A COVID-19 outbreak has one school district rethinking plans for in-person learning.

In fact, students attending St. Mary’s County Public Schools were set to begin transitioning to in-person learning Monday – but not anymore.

"We find ourselves today with multiple cases of confirmed COVID related to the Labor Day weekend,” Superintendent J. Scott Smith said in a virtual town hall Wednesday.

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He detailed how an employee at George Washington Carver Elementary School in Lexington Park had tested positive after attending a “non-school related social event.” Contact tracing and testing then led to more employees testing positive, including at other county schools. Smith didn’t give a specific number of infected staffers but said it is in the double-digits.

The district had been scheduled to bring students back for in-person learning in phases, with the first group returning Monday. Instead, the majority of students will now continue virtual learning through the end of the first quarter.

Most parents who spoke with FOX 5 Thursday said they agreed with the decision, although some said they were still disappointed.

"They do better when they actually in school," said Jessie Siler, who has two children in St. Mary’s County Public Schools.

Smith said George Washington Carver Elementary is now undergoing a thorough cleaning and will be closed to all personnel through the end of the week.