ST. MARY’S COUNTY, Md. – St. Mary’s County Public Schools will remain all virtual for at least the next three weeks.

In a message to parents, Superintendent J. Scott Smith said the school system had closely monitored COVID data for the county and what they saw was concerning. “As of Friday morning St. Mary’s County is on track to record the largest number of new cases in one week and a comparably high percent positive rate, as calculated by the St. Mary’s Health Department.”

St. Mary’s County had a COVID-positive rate of 7.17% and a new case rate of over 13 cases per 100,000. 

He said SMCPS would remain on all-virtual instruction for the next three weeks, November 16 – December 4, 2020. “The third week, November 30 through December 4, will be critical to understand what the impact Thanksgiving gatherings may have on the county COVID 19 data and whether we will be able to resume in-person instruction.”

Scott said that delaying plans to return kids to in-person instruction was the last thing the district wanted to do. “We are incredibly concerned about our students’ mental health and their academic needs but the surge we see around us must be addressed.”

All athletics and in-person extra-curricular activities are also suspended. Meals will continue to be available for students, with pickup times on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 11 to 1 at each school. 

He encouraged everyone to wear masks, wash hands, maintain social distance and avoid social gathering.