Students will be in schools in February 2021 at the earliest
On Tuesday, July 21, MCPS announced that the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year would take place entirely online and that all winter and fall sports programs were canceled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement also included a statement that considerations for an in-person second semester would be made on Nov. 10
In a letter released to Parents, Guardians, Students and Staff, MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith emphasized that schools would continue online for the school year until further instruction was provided by the state. “The safest choice for our district is to remain in a virtual-only instructional model through the first semester—January 29, 2021; or until state and local health officials determine conditions in our county allow for students to return safely after the first semester,” he wrote.
The superintendent continued that MCPS expects Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and State Superintendent Dr.Karen Salmon to release a statewide school recovery plan this week and has prepared to adjust parts of the decision. “We will review their guidance and make all necessary adjustments to align our plans,” he explained.
Smith explains that an updated plan will be presented to the Montgomery County Board of Education on Aug. 6 following feedback from health officials and the community. The Board will vote on the updated plan once it is presented.
For many students, services such as free meals were provided at school locations during the 2019-2020 school year closure. Smith expressed that MCPS is looking into maintaining such services during the 2020-2021 school year. “We are seeking the ability to allow buildings to remain open in a limited capacity for essential purposes, including meal service; to support access to technology and other materials, and for use by some child care providers.” he wrote.
Improving from the previous semester, Smith explains that MCPS is looking to use a more uniform system for online learning. “We are also streamlining digital tools and platforms to make it easier for our students, staff, and families,” he stated in the letter.
In addition to developing a streamlined system, Smith writes that teachers and staff are being provided with additional training to adapt to the virtual learning environment.
This is a fluid story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
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