Dear Families,

As you are aware, the COVID-19 metrics and trends have continued to move in the wrong direction, both nationally and now locally. Unfortunately, new confirmed cases per day, per 100,000 people, for Howard County is now 26.6, which is in the critical range for the seven-day moving average. Maryland is faring better than most, however, daily confirmed cases have shot up to the highest levels yet in Baltimore, Howard, and Anne Arundel Counties, as well as statewide. With information on this pandemic changing daily, our Board and School COVID Taskforces continually monitor our safety for in-person learning.

Due to these most recent increases in positivity rates, we implore everyone to restrict travel, group activities, and large family gatherings during this increasingly concerning time. Recent studies show that while we feel safest with our families and friends these types of indoor gatherings are where most of the COVID spread occurs. Of course, this is where we often feel safe and let down our guard while gathering indoors. Please consider gathering in smaller groups, quarantining before meeting and/or testing before gathering to limit exposure.

Updated Travel per Maryland Advisory: On Tuesday, November 10th, Governor Hogan updated the travel advisories for Maryland residents. As a community, St. John’s is following all guidelines set forth by the Maryland State Health Department and CDC. The Health Department states, “Any Marylander who travels or returns from a high infection state with a positivity rate more than 10% or a new case rate greater than 20 cases per 100,000, must get tested upon arrival to Maryland and quarantine, at home, until they receive their results.” St. John’s is following all state advisories to protect our community and maintain the safety of our students. These guidelines are constantly changing and updating as cases continue to increase. Please plan to quarantine upon your return if you are traveling or gathering in large groups over the holidays. Contact our Nurses and let them know your plans and we will work with your family to ensure safety for all.

Additionally, the Maryland Department of Health recently released a new COVID decision metrics for schools and health care providers. Please note the top which states: “For the purposes of this decision aid, COVID-19-like illness is defined as: Any 1 of the following: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, OR At least 2 of the following: fever of 100.4o or higher (measured or subjective), chills or shaking chills, muscle aches, sore throat, headache, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and congestion or runny nose.” Please know, that a student who presents any of the above symptoms will be sent home immediately and possible quarantining of the entire class will occur until tests results are negative. Please keep your child home if they have any of these symptoms.

SJPDS is working hard with these ever-evolving metrics and will continue to keep you informed. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate through these uncertain times. We greatly appreciate your partnership and support to keep our community safe and look forward to seeing everyone virtually on December 3rd, 4th, & 5th and in-person on December 7th.

New SJPDS Virtual Learning Parent Portal:
Students in grades K – 5 will be bringing home their devices with virtual
learning packets. PLEASE take good care of the devices and only use them for schoolwork. If you experience any issues with the software or hardware of your school-issued device or school monitored account, please review the "tutorial" section of this webpage for assistance. You may also email gwright@stjohnspds.org for assistance.

Dress down day tomorrow will be BROWN for our ACORN or dress in Thanksgiving apparel.

We are all in this together! Best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Lori Dembo
Head of School