MoCo Board of Education Approves Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction

MoCo Board of Education Approves “Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction”

Today the Montgomery County Board of Education approved a plan and timeline for a safe return to in-person learning.

The Board voted unanimously to bring small groups (special education, CTE) back to in-person schools on March 1 and begin phasing in the entire student body on March 15.

Families will hear directly from their schools about their specific plans.

The full MCPS Spring 2021 Recovery of Education Guide can be seen here.

Blair High School’s student newspaper, Silver Chips, has provided us with notes from the meeting to share with our readers (can follow Silver Chips on Twitter):

• Now in the reopening discussion. Assoc. Supt. Kevin Lowndes proposes bringing the specific special education groups below back to in-person schools on March 1.

Assoc. Supt. Niki Hazel does the same for CTE, adding that they will prioritize juniors and seniors.

• Moving into updates on the March 15 phase-in return, Assoc. Supt. James Koutsos shares the MCPS “optimal dates” for return. Emphasizes that health and safety metrics could prepone or delay this schedule.

• Assoc. Supt. Diane Morris shares more specifics about the groups that correspond to each of these phases and what frequency students would enter physical buildings.

• Back to Lowndes for more on the special education phase-in approach after the specific small groups are theoretically brought back on March 1:

• Individual principals and administration teams are responsible for designing their school’s approach to the hybrid model. MCPS also shares a video detailing the different learning models.

• Responding to a question from Board vice president Karla Silvestre (At-Large), Deputy Supt. Monifa McKnight says MCPS will share changes to the all-virtual learning model at the Feb. 23 meeting. Per @MCPS’ December survey, about 60 percent of students—98,231—will remain virtual.

• Individual schools will start communicating with families tomorrow (Feb. 10).

To switch from virtual to in-person, students should reach out to their principals. These requests cannot be guaranteed due to state occupancy guidelines.

• Assoc. Supt. Essie McGuire says MCPS intends to offer three days for preparation and training, outlined below. Spring break and the last day of school (June 16) would remain as scheduled.

• All middle and high school students would start first period at 9:00 a.m to align virtual and hybrid class times and accommodate transportation schedules. The “support periods” in the morning would effectively resemble study hall and/or academic support.

• March 1: About 730 students in certain special education and CTE programs will go in-person.

March 15: Younger students will be in school four days per week. Older students will attend four days every other week.

Phase breakdown by grade included below (with tentative dates).


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