COVID-19 forces school work to come to a halt

March 18, 2020, 6:32 p.m. | By Joy Xu | 1 year, 8 months ago

With the recent school closing, all educational instruction has stopped

Due to the closing of all schools in Maryland from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 27, all educational work has stopped and is mandated by the county to be optional. As of March 16, all grades in the gradebook are frozen until further notice, Montgomery Blair Principal Renay Johnson said.

In an email sent out to staff members, Johnson reiterated the point that teachers are not allowed, under any circumstances, to assign mandatory work to be completed during this two-week break period. “Do not assign any assignments during this absence or expect students to complete your coursework. Students can complete optional assignments from the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs. These optional assignments will not be graded,” Johnson said.

However, teachers are encouraged to use this time to allow students to re-submit or catch up on late work. “If it was assigned before break, or if it is make-up work, then that is fine. It is also time for teachers to catch up on grading. If they haven’t graded anything all quarter, now is a good time for them to start. But, nothing new can be graded,” Johnson continued.

Some acceptable forms of educational instruction include optional videos that students can watch to keep information fresh in their minds (i.e. optional foreign language or math videos). For grades K-12, the MCPS Office of Curriculum Instruction has also put out optional material for high school students to complete, if desired. These materials can be found here and include instruction in english, math, science, social studies, world languages and AP/IB material.

MCPS is currently unsure whether or not the marking period will be extended. “MCPS will consult with union leaders to determine what adjustments need to be made to the 3rd marking period window,” Johnson said.

Johnson and the Blair administration are constantly communicating with the county and state about continued school closings and further information regarding online instruction.  

UPDATE (3/22/20, 10:00 p.m.): In a statement released on Sunday March 22, MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith announced that MCPS will be launching a "distance learning system" on March 30. "We will launch the first phase of a distance learning system so that students can begin to have structured school experiences. A system that will provide multiple ways to access learning for a variety of students," Smith said.

UPDATE (3/25/20, 11:42 a.m.): In a statement released by MCPS, "all MCPS school buildings will be closed until April 24, 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Student engagement and instruction will continue during this time."

UPDATE (3/27/20, 10:00 p.m.): In a statement released by Smith, MCPS announced that Phase One of the distance learning plan will be in effect starting the week of March 30. Monday March 30 and Tuesday March 31 will be for students and teachers to get acclimated to the online platform and reconnect with teachers. Wednesday April 1 will mark the first virtual class meeting with teachers. The third marking period is also extended until Friday, April 17. "ESOL teachers, counselors, pupil personnel workers, paraeducators and other staff will connect with students and families throughout the week," Smith said.

This is a fluid story and updates will be added when available.

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Last updated: March 28, 2020, 1:36 p.m.

Tags: MCPS coronavirus

Joy Xu. Hi! My name is Joy, and I'm the News Editor. Aside from writing articles, I enjoy playing violin for pit orchestra and making desserts for my friends and family. During the school year, I run Blair's DECA club, and I participate in many business-related activities. More »

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