As schools in the Washington area inch toward reopening, a question looms: whether and how school districts will report coronavirus cases among students and staff.

Reporting policies vary district-to-district across D.C., Maryland and Virginia, but many school systems in the region are opting to stay mostly mum. Some school officials say they are not tracking or publishing data on school-related virus cases — only notifying people who may have come into contact with infected individuals.

This can make it hard to discover whether a school system has suffered an outbreak. When an employee in Montgomery County Public Schools’ central office recently tested positive for the virus, news of the case trickled out informally. Spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala confirmed it Wednesday, saying she could not release more details due to medical confidentiality but anyone potentially exposed was notified and the superintendent and school board had been informed.

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