Parents & Students


MSB Family Portal

Letter From Superintendent Rob Hair:

COVID-19 Return to School update 01/11/2022

Dear MSB Families:

We know that the best place for our students to learn is in school. Following this period of virtual instruction and staff testing (following the higher than normal risks of exposure due to holiday gatherings), we are hopeful that MSB will have adequate numbers of staff who are not in quarantine or isolation for COVID19, so that MSB can safely return to in-person instruction as planned on Tuesday, January 18. (Tier 4: Residential students would return on Monday evening, January 17.)

However, I do want to prepare you for two possibilities:

  1. Individual classrooms may have to remain in (or revert to) remote instruction at any time over the next few months due to a lack of staff coverage related to quarantines/isolations.
  2. All of MSB may have to remain in (or go back to) remote learning due to a high number of staff in quarantine/isolation to the degree that makes it unsafe to have school. 

As you know, we are conducting weekly staff PCR testing so that we can track how wide-spread COVID-19 infection rates are among staff.  As we Identify cases, staff will be required to isolate or quarantine whether due to having symptoms, positive test results or close contacts. There may be instances when we won’t have enough staff to cover specific classrooms. 

The results of our weekly staff surveillance testing comes back from the lab late in the week, so we also need to be prepared to quickly assess our ability to keep the students safe, communicate with staff and families and potentially pivot quickly between in-person and remote instruction. 

This means that classrooms and related service providers should be prepared to switch to remote instruction at various times over the next few months at short notice,  especially while COVID-19 infections continue to track upwards.

Families, I want to impress upon all of you the importance of getting your children vaccinated if you haven’t already. If your child has been vaccinated, please inform our Health Center.  In addition to the overall protection that vaccination provides, being vaccinated becomes very important when determining next steps should your child be in close contact with someone who has tested positive.   Depending on their age, the timing of their vaccination, if eligible, the timing of their booster, if eligible, and their ability to mask, they may or may not need to quarantine for 5 to 10 days–which means less school missed.

Below are the general guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and the Maryland Department of Health that we are required to follow in the event your child is a close contact or displays COVID-like symptoms: 

Close Contact–Unvaccinated Students

If your child is a close contact (with or without a mask) and they are not vaccinated,  they must quarantine for at least 5 days.  The date of exposure is considered day zero; day one is the first full day following exposure.  If your child remains asymptomatic throughout days 0-5, it is highly recommended that they obtain a COVID test on or around Day 5.  If their test comes back negative, and they can correctly wear a mask for the entire bus ride and school day, they may return to school.   If their test comes back positive, they must continue to quarantine until they have reached day 10 following exposure.

Close Contact–Vaccinated

If your child is a close contact, and fully vaccinated (including booster if applicable), is asymptomatic, and can wear a mask they do not need to quarantine; however, it is highly recommended that they obtain a COVID test on or around Day 5.  If the test comes back negative, and they can correctly wear a mask, they can continue coming to school.  If their test comes back positive, they will be required to isolate. 

COVID-19 Symptoms

If your child has any COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status,  they will need to isolate for at least 5 days.  After 5 days, they can return to school under the following conditions: 

  • They are fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications, their symptoms are improving and they have the ability to wear a well-fitted mask for the duration of their bus ride and school day.  

If the above conditions are not met, they must continue to quarantine for the remainder of the CDC-recommended 10 days.  

In addition to continuing previously communicated mitigation strategies, to include but not limited to social distancing whenever possible, staff will no longer be permitted to wear cloth masks and instead will wear surgical masks, KN-95 or N-95 masks.  

Additionally, we will continue to follow guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control as well as the Maryland Department of Health.  As guidance from either of those entities changes, so, too, will our protocols.  

Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation with these updated policies and for your flexibility as they change over the upcoming months.  Let’s all try to remain healthy so we can bring our students back to school and keep school open!

Previous Messages:

01/03/2022

Hello MSB,

I hope everyone had a safe and restful holiday and break. As we have evaluated our ability to safely open school, we have made the decision to implement virtual instruction beginning on Thursday, January 6, 2022 and ending on Friday, January 14, 2022. In-person instruction for all students will resume on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, following Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with Tier 4 residential students returning on Monday, January 17, 2022.

This decision was not made easily and is being done to keep staff and students as safe as possible. Based on current testing of staff and quarantining based on diagnosis or close contact, we have an elevated positivity rate among staff that will most likely rise in the next few days. The positivity rate is impacting our ability to safely have students on campus and in class.

Instructional staff will use Tuesday and Wednesday of this week to plan for virtual and distance learning. Monday, January 3, 2022 through Wednesday, January 5, 2022, school will be closed and these days will be made up later in the school year.

Additional information will be shared as soon as decisions are made or new information becomes available.

Thank you for your continued flexibility and support as we navigate what we anticipate and hope will be a brief change.

W. Robert Hair, Superintendent

410-599-6545 (c)  410-319-5719 (f)

www.marylandschoolfortheblind.org

 

 

  • For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s websi​te or call 211
  • The Maryland Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) website is now live! Visit https://dhs.maryland.gov/pebt/. The website contains information about P-EBT benefits and frequently asked questions.
  • Information on this program can also be found by downloading the flyers:
  • MSB Social Work and Psychology Support phone line (410.444.5000, ext 1249). Messages left on this number will be returned by a MSB social worker or psychologist within 24 to 48 hours.
  • Mental Health Resources and Emergency Services Information https://health.maryland.gov/suicideprevention/Pages/Maryland-Crisis-Hotline.aspx

Family Resources

Maryland Learning Links

Education for students with disabilities is a collaborative effort among local school systems, education advocates, and legislation adopted by the Maryland State Board of Education, with families as key stakeholders in the teaching and learning process. Maryland Learning Links has been created to serve as the MSDE, DEI/SES’s one stop shop website designed to inform and support all stakeholders. Visit their website at www.marylandlearninglinks.org

Educational Resources for Students & Families

Google Resources

For the virtual instruction from teachers and related service providers, MSB will be using Google Suite for Education for both synchronous, live, and asynchronous, at a time of your choosing, instruction. Below are resources for parents to help become familiar with Google Meet and Google Classroom:

MSB Library Link

MSB’s on-line library catalog can be accessed through this link http://webopac.klas.com/mdschOpens a new tab

Book Ordering