1/13 MCPS Media Briefing: Staff Vaccinations, Canceled PSAT, and More
Yesterday, MCPS held its monthly media briefing addressing the topics discussed at this week’s Board of Education meeting plus other questions.
Some of the topics that were addressed:
- Change in family preference for in-person learning: Recent availability of vaccines might have changed the minds of some families who previously responded that they did not want their children attending school in person. Families will have a later opportunity to opt-in for in-person learning if they wish to revise their stance. There will not be another survey distributed, but communication will happen.
- Will the benchmark metrics for a return to in-person learning be revised now that there is a vaccine? MCPS is awaiting a response from the Maryland Department of Health about revising the metrics for opening buildings. Per Superintendent Smith, “The vaccination is another variable now. This will have to be factored in.”
- When and how will staff be vaccinated? According to Dr. Monifa McKnight, “our hope is that by the end of January, we will begin working on that process [of vaccinating our staff].” Currently, educators are in group 1b for receiving the vaccine– county officials will follow up with staff members to discuss the vaccination process.
- MCPS has not announced an ideal benchmark percentage of staff who have been vaccinated.
- Staff interest in vaccine: MCPS is preparing to collect this information. Their current estimate is that 90% of staff would want to be vaccinated. This estimate is based on other counties where 70-90% of staff stated a preference of being vaccinated.
- MCPS buildings as vaccination sites: The county plans to have one school as a vaccination site, they have requested that two more be added.
- Student vaccination: Per Superintendent Smith, there is currently no dictated timeframe or protocol for children and adolescents to be vaccinated. (Per the county’s priority grouping, people aged 16+ with medical conditions are accounted for in phase 1C– no younger people have been added to this priority grouping yet.)
- Canceled PSAT: The upcoming PSAT administration has been canceled due to increasing COVID metrics. The PSAT was scheduled in hopes that the COVID metrics would have allowed students to return to buildings on February 1– this is not the case. SAT can still be administered in person because there is a lower turnout than the PSAT, which is administered to all MCPS juniors. MCPS is unable to come up with enough space for all of its juniors to take the PSAT in a safe manner in person at this moment. There is a possibility that students can take the SAT in lieu of the PSAT.
The media briefing is currently available to the public and can be seen in full here.
By: Michelle Katz @pike.and.rozay