PG County Seal

May 6 - May 12, 2021

Front:  Benita A. Swindell, Psi Epsilon Omega Chapter of AKA and Pearl Elegance Foundation joins Oaklands Elementary School Principal Jewel Preston and chapter members as they unpack more than 25,000 PPE items donated by the sorority.
Photograph courtesy Psi Epsilon Omega Chapter
Front:  Benita A. Swindell, Psi Epsilon Omega Chapter of AKA and Pearl Elegance Foundation joins Oaklands Elementary School Principal Jewel Preston and chapter members as they unpack more than 25,000 PPE items donated by the sorority.


Prince George’s County Sorority Chapter Donates Thousands of Personal Protective Equipment Items to Laurel Elementary School

Psi Epsilon Omega Chapter (PEO)

Laurel, Md. (April 29, 2021)—Psi Epsilon Omega Chapter (PEO), Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Incorporated® donated more than 25,000 items of personal protective equipment during an event held on April 25, 2021. The chapter provided masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer, among other items, to Oaklands Elementary School in Laurel, Md.

“This donation means everything to us because we haven’t had to spend our school funds on things like wipes, gloves, or masks that are a necessity for students who are returning back to the building and staff as well,” said Jewel Preston, Oaklands Elementary School Principal.

Oaklands Elementary has a total student population of 375, about 125 of whom returned to the classroom earlier this month on April 8. PEO and the Pearl Elegance Foundation, Inc. have partnered in providing essentials to the Oaklands school community since 2019.

“The fact that Psi Epsilon Omega and Pearl Elegance Foundation partners with Oaklands Elementary School mean a lot to us because they’ve provided not only financial support, but they’ve helped to stock our ‘Comfort Closet’ with clothes, personal items for parents and students,” Preston added. “I don’t know what we would do without PEO.”

“We are thrilled to support our adopt-a-school Oaklands Elementary with necessary PPE supplies like masks, hand sanitizers, gloves, and cleaning products,” said Benita A. Swindell, Psi Epsilon Omega President. “PEO recognizes the importance of keeping students, teachers, faculty, and staff safe as they return back to the classroom.”

Donations continue to be tabulated and will be collected until the end of the school year.


Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated®, Psi Epsilon Omega Chapter was chartered in 2007. Since its founding, the chapter has been aggressively implementing its programs of service in the communities of Laurel, Bowie, and Greenbelt, Maryland.




PGCPS Leads State in Green School Certifications

Prince George’s County Public Schools

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (April 26, 2021)—Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) continues to lead the state with the highest number of Maryland Green Schools certifications. This year, three schools earned new certification and 23 schools were recertified, raising the total number of Green Schools to 141—nearly 70 percent of all schools systemwide and more than 20 percent of the 672 active Maryland Green Schools.

“Green School programs empower our students to be hands-on in understanding their local environment and to become responsible stewards of our Earth’s resources,” said Dr. Monica Goldson, Chief Executive Officer. “We are proud to lead the state in Green School certifications and offer exposure for more students.”

This year, Margaret Brent Regional School, Potomac High School and William Paca Elementary School earned first-time certification, while Laurel Elementary School achieved “sustainable” status for having three consecutive recertifications. To maintain Green School status, schools must recertify every four years.

Schools earning 2021 recertification include:

High schools: Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr., Fairmont Heights, Gwynn Park, Largo, Laurel,

K-8/Middle schools: Accokeek Academy, Judith P. Hoyer Montessori, Oxon Hill

Elementary schools: Allenwood, Catherine T. Reed, Dodge Park, Edward M. Felegy, Flintstone, Green Valley Academy, Hyattsville, James H. Harrison, Marlton, Maya Angelou French Immersion, Montpelier, Princeton, Deerfield Run, Lewsidale

The Maryland Green Schools program, sponsored by The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE), is one of the most rigorous and comprehensive Green School certification programs in the nation. It encourages educational opportunities, increases environmental awareness and promotes environmental stewardship practices for students at all grade levels. Through a non-competitive application process, schools must demonstrate their green activities and culture in eight criteria areas.

MAEOE and the Maryland Green School community will celebrate virtually in May and June to recognize awardees.

For more information about the Green Schools Program, visit the MAEOE website.


Maryland Department of Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader Visits Vaccination Sites Serving Hispanics and Seniors in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties and Baltimore City

Maryland Department of Health

Baltimore (April 28, 2021)—On Tues.,  [April 27] Maryland Department of Health (MDH) Secretary Dennis R. Schrader visited a pop-up vaccination clinic for the Hispanic communities at Casa de Maryland in Adelphi, Maryland, a clinic vaccinating seniors and staff at the Layhill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and a ceremony recognizing healthcare workers on the one-year anniversary of the opening of the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital. 

“Our No Arm Left Behind initiative entails working closely with trusted community partners like Casa de Maryland, Layhill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital to ensure that every Marylander who wants a vaccine can get access to one as quickly as possible,” said Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “We are applying lessons learned, best practices, and other strategies to reach out to Marylanders facing challenges to getting vaccinated. The Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital remains a tremendous asset in our fight against COVID-19 and recognizing leadership and staff for all the hard work that happens there every day was an honor.”

The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement.

Follow us on Twitter @MDHealthDept and at




Governor Hogan Proclaims May and June 2021 Maryland Magicicada Months

Office of the Governor

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (April 30, 2021)—Governor Larry Hogan today issued a proclamation declaring May and June 2021 as Maryland Magicicada Months to recognize the return of the 17-year periodical cicada and to generate public awareness about these fascinating insects. Brood X periodical cicadas are only found in the eastern United States and emerge once every 17 years. In Maryland, they will begin to emerge in early May and will die off by the end of June.

“I encourage all Marylanders to take advantage of this opportunity to learn about these remarkable, harmless creatures,” said Governor Hogan. “For a few short weeks this spring, many across the state will have a front-row seat to witness a natural phenomenon that happens nowhere else on the planet.”

The Brood X cicada emergence is the largest of all broods, with possibly many billions emerging at the same time. Numbers will vary from place to place. Based on the 2004 Brood X emergence in Maryland, cicadas will likely appear in the following counties: Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, eastern Garrett, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Washington. If you live in one of these areas and are surrounded by older trees, chances are their populations will be higher.

Brood X periodical cicadas made their last debut in spring 2004. Since then, cicada nymphs have been living underground, a couple of feet below the surface, feeding on sap from tree roots for the past 17 years. Now in spring 2021, Brood X adults are preparing to emerge when soil temperatures reach approximately 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once above ground, these insects live for just a few weeks. During this short adult lifespan, they shed their nymphal exoskeletons, grow wings, fly, sing, mate, lay eggs in trees, and then die. In late July to early August, their eggs hatch. The tiny white nymphs will fall from trees and immediately begin to burrow underground where they will live until 2038.

Cicadas do not chew, bite, or sting, so they are not a threat to humans, pets, animals, or most plants. If your pet or animal consumes a few cicadas, they should be fine, though over-indulging may upset their stomach.

For those living in areas with Brood X populations, here is what to expect during their life cycle:

They will appear over a few weeks. Brood X cicadas synchronously emerge in large numbers as part of a predator satiation strategy. By coordinating their emergence, the sheer number of cicadas will allow for many to be eaten by predators while some of the population survives to procreate. Cicada predators include some birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and other insects.

They will be loud. Once they are fully grown, male cicadas “sing” their mating call to attract females, making a loud chorus that can reach a volume as high as 105 decibels. This is comparable to a lawn mower, leaf blower, or chainsaw. These sounds will usually last from late May to late June and will be loudest in the afternoon.

They are lousy flyers. Brood X cicadas are lousy flyers so they will likely run into windows, cars, buildings, and people. If one lands on you, simply brush it off.

There will be a ton of cicada carcasses. Once the Brood X cicadas die in later June, there will be billions of carcasses decomposing on the ground and they may give off an unpleasant odor.

To prepare, find out if your area is expected to see Brood X cicadas. Do not use pesticides or insecticides to try to kill them—doing so will not be helpful in controlling populations and only poses a threat of harming other helpful, beneficial insects. The best way to dispose of them is by adding their carcasses to a compost pile. For more information and additional resources, visit the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s cicada webpage.




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