Public efforts to maintain hygienic facilities rise
January 22, 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has been worsening. According to Johns Hopkins University, over a fourth of all cases reported in the US were reported last December alone. The spread is no longer regional, either: it is permeating virtually every area of the country, from coast to coast.
According to the New York Times, there are currently six vaccines that have made it to the stage of early and limited use. But the vaccines will not cause for a relent in public health measures. “It doesn’t mean we go back to our pre-pandemic lifestyles,” Dr. William Moss, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins, told Time. “We’re going to have to continue our social distancing and mask wearing for the foreseeable future, until we get really high coverage with a vaccine that’s highly protective and reduces transmission.”
Public efforts at maintaining safety have heightened. According to NBC, lockdowns, stricter mask-wearing regulations, and stay-at-home orders are sweeping across the country. On the night before Thanksgiving, Maryland issued a public safety alert that read, “Wear a mask, distance, get tested, and remember Maryland restaurants now close at 10pm. State and local law enforcement actions take place tonight.”
School counties, such as MCPS, are considering a gradual reopening. On Jan. 12, MCPS administration issued revised information about the plan. If health metrics are met, groups of students will start phasing in on March 15, 2021.
:The safety of students and staff has, and will continue to, guide our return to in-person learning.” MCPS Superintendent of Schools Jack Smith wrote. “The Board will meet again on Feb. 23, 2021, to determine if metrics can be met by March 15 for a safe return to in-person learning.”
In a file released on Nov. 6, MCPS plans on enforcing limited capacity in schools and facilities, health screening protocols for those entering buildings, and six-feet social distancing. Schools will provide hand sanitizer, gloves, and cloth masks.
Moreover, MCPS mentions upgrading air conditioning systems to meet the new pandemic-specific requirements of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), which call for more air exchange, or “a good supply of outside air to dilute indoor contaminants.”
Whether or not the vaccines are effective and Richard Montgomery students return to class this spring, the increase in COVID’s spread will require continually high standards of hygiene for all.