Some school districts across DC region struggling with COVID-19 transparency: FOX 5 report

FOX 5 has learned over 100 Prince George’s County Public Schools employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since March.

This information wasn’t easy to get, and it shows how some school districts across the DMV are struggling with transparency when it comes to disclosing coronavirus cases with the public. 

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FOX 5's Linday Watts reports that school districts across the D.C. region have different ways of getting this information out there.

Prince George’s County told her she had to file an open records request to find out how many employees had tested positive.

Watts discovered that 122 PGCPS employees have tested positive since schools first closed in March.

READ MORE: Schools closing due to COVID-19 even before students return

She also asked school officials how many buildings had temporarily closed as a result of the positive cases and was told they couldn’t provide that number, though it’s likely around 87.

Watts reports it took her nearly three weeks to receive this data.

The school district says it’s working on developing a dashboard website to track all cases, closures and cleanings for the public.

FOX 5 has also told you about concerns in Montgomery County schools.

READ MORE: DC Public Schools announce plan to get elementary students back in class by November 9

A school spokesperson says more than 80 employees there have tested positive since March, which led to about a dozen buildings being closed.

“We evaluate each case and make a determination on whether it is a staff member, school community-wide, or entire MCPS district notification,” said spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala. 

Some parents have called for notifications every time a staff member tests positive.

In the District, a spokesperson told FOX 5 Wednesday night that District of Columbia Public Schools will begin publicly reporting cases at the start of the second term.

Meanwhile in Virginia, a bill passed Wednesday saying schools, nursing homes, daycares, and all state agencies have to publicly report COVID-19 outbreaks.

It will be up to the Virginia Department of Health to define an outbreak.

Watts reports that there are school districts already being very transparent. Loudoun County in Virginia, for example, sends emails to parents and media whenever an employee or student tests positive.