Back to School and Student Loan Relief
Dear Neighbors and Friends -
I cannot believe it is the end of summer and time for our children to head back to school. A year ago, many of us were filled with anxiety about how our children would learn in a required virtual setting. Today, we have a vaccine that is safe for adults and kids ages 12 or older. Yet, anxiety remains about our children heading back into classrooms instead of Zoom rooms. We know a lot more than we did a year ago about the transmissibility of the COVID-19 virus and what we all must do to keep ourselves, our families, and our community safe. Yet this year we have the Delta and other variants of the virus that are deadlier than the original version. But I do have hope that one day we will come out of this. Yes, our lives are forever changed because of the pandemic but if we all do our part, get vaccinated, mask up, wash our hands and keep our distance we can reduce the spread of this awful virus.
Below is info about the steps that the Prince George’s County School System is taking to keep our children safe. As you celebrate Labor Day this weekend and prepare for the 1st day of school, please remember our essential workers who have been on the front lines since this pandemic began 18 months ago risking their lives and the lives of their families to heal us when we were sick, made sure we had food on our table, and that our communities would continue to thrive during these challenging times. Also below is info about rental assistance for those in our community who have been unable to pay their rent because of job loss or reduction caused by the pandemic.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Back to School
The State Board of Education issued a universal mask mandate for all Maryland Public Schools. The Prince George's County School System is requiring all employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. Health and Safety - Families should ensure that children are up-to-date with all required immunizations. While COVID vaccination is not required, it is strongly encouraged that all students ages 12 and up receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Please perform daily health checks using the Frontline Education mobile app, which will assist in minimizing individuals who are sick from entering PGCPS buildings. Buildings will be thoroughly cleaned using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-approved disinfectants at the end of every school day. We will enhance building airflow by opening classroom windows, running exhaust fans before/after occupancy, and increasing HVAC hours of operation. MERV-13 filters have been installed in HVAC systems per CDC guidelines. Social Distancing - At least three feet of social distancing will be maintained in classrooms and other areas where possible. Visitors must make an appointment with the school prior to arriving. Conferences with parents and other meetings that do not need to be held in person will be held virtually. COVID-19 Testing and Quarantine - Schools will provide written notification to families and staff following exposure to a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case. If there is a confirmed COVID-19 case at a school or in a classroom, the infected individual will be required to quarantine at home for at least 10 days and be symptom-free before returning. Students and employees who were in close contact with the individual must quarantine for at least 10 days if not fully vaccinated; fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine but should monitor for symptoms for 14 days. If a single positive case of COVID-19 is confirmed, PGCPS will close the exposed area of the facility. If multiple positive cases of COVID-19 are confirmed within three days (minimum), PGCPS will close the entire facility to clean and sanitize all areas. Transportation and Meals - Face masks are required while riding the school bus. To improve airflow, windows may be open to the maximum extent possible when weather permits. Buses will be cleaned and sanitized at the conclusion of each run, in between morning and afternoon routes, and at the conclusion of the day. Breakfast and lunch will be served in the cafeteria or in designated areas determined by the school administration. Elementary schools participating in Maryland Meals for Achievement Classroom Breakfast Program will have breakfast delivered to the classroom. Weather and space permitting, meals may be taken outside. Principals will develop procedures based on space availability. The County school system has launched a back-to-school website with the information you need to help you get ready and reconnect for the school year.
Emergency Rental Assistance
Direct rental assistance payments for renters and landlords are available now! If you need COVID rental relief, click here to apply to a program in your area.
Student Loan Relief
Apply by September 15th for the Student Loan Tax Relief Credit. Maryland taxpayers who have incurred at least $20,000 in undergraduate and/or graduate student loan debt and have at least $5,000 in outstanding student loan debt at the time of the application may be eligible. Click here to apply.
Join us during the Greenbelt Labor Festival
On Saturday, September 4th from 10 AM until 4 PM Team Nicole will be at the Roosevelt Center for Information Day during the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. You will find our table near the Greenbelt Federal Credit Union and the New Deal Cafe. Come by and say hello. If you are interested in helping out that day, click here at our table.