2021 | Schools

School Notes: State investigating linked COVID-19 cases at six Montgomery County schools

Plus: ‘Let’s Talk Careers’ event will feature health officials; Richard Montgomery students in finals of international math competition

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State investigating associated COVID-19 cases at six Montgomery County schools

The Maryland Department of Health is investigating COVID-19 “outbreaks” at six county schools.

The schools are listed on an online database tracking current “outbreaks” because they have at least two cases that are “epidemiologically linked,” according to the website. That is one of three definitions of an “outbreak.”

Other definitions of a school “outbreak” are:

• Three or more classrooms with cases that meet the above criteria within the past 14 days
• 5% or more of the students and/or staff members with confirmed cases within 14 days (a minimum of 10 unrelated cases).

The Montgomery County schools with active “outbreaks,” according to the dashboard, are:

• Montgomery Blair High School (2 cases)
• Sherwood High School (2 cases)
• The Heights School (2 cases)
• Our Lady of Good Counsel High School (3 cases)
• Our Lady of Lourdes School — 4th grade (3 cases)
• From the Heart Christian School (8 cases)

In recent weeks, some schools, including MCPS and Bullis, have disputed their designation as having an “outbreak,” saying they do not believe their cases are linked. Bullis raised the issue with state officials and was subsequently removed from the list.

State officials have not responded to Bethesda Beat’s requests for comment on the discrepancies.

‘Let’s Talk Careers’ event will feature health officials

The next MCPS “Let’s Talk Careers” event will feature health care leaders, including Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles.

Let’s Talk Careers is a monthly series hosted by MCPS students who talk with professionals from a variety of fields about their careers.

The next event is at 10 a.m. April 28 and will include Gayles; Anna Maria Izquierdo-Porrera, the executive director of Care for Your Health Inc.; and Ruth Wiliams-Brinkley, the regional president of the Mid-Atlantic states for Kaiser Permanente.

The event will be streamed on the MCPS website and YouTube channel.

Students can submit questions live in the chat feature on YouTube.

Richard Montgomery students in international math finals

Five Richard Montgomery High School students recently advanced to the finals of the MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge.

The international competition had more than 2,400 high school juniors and seniors from the United States and United Kingdom compete this year.

The final round will be held on April 26, when the students will give a presentation to a panel of professional mathematicians.

The competition tasked students with using mathematical modeling to “defeat the digital divide to make internet accessible to all,” according to a press release from the company.

In total, 535 teams submitted papers detailing their recommendations. Three teams were chosen as finalists, including the one from Richard Montgomery.

Winning teams will be awarded a total of $125,000 in scholarships.

The students on the Richard Montgomery team are: Alexander Karbowski, Jerry Shen, Danesh Sivakumar, Tony Wu and Junzhi Xie.