Updates from the 12/3 MCPS Board of Education Meeting: Opening Schools in Recovery of Education
Today during their virtual meeting, the MCPS Board of Education discussed a number of topics including how MoCo is stacking up in terms of health metrics, student data, updates on measures they’re taking to ensure safety, and recommendations for student transportation once there is a return to buildings.
As of right now, the previously released Health Metric Matrix guidance will still be used to determine a phased-in return to in-person instruction.
Derek Turner, Chief of Engagement, Innovation and Operations, emphatically stated that [some] “students WILL be coming in when we get to 15 cases per 100k”– referring to “Students Special Populations” on the chart below:
As of today, we are above the threshold for a safe return to buildings, according to the above chart. The current data shows that MoCo is at 28.1 cases per 100k people. Our current positivity rate is at 5.3%, which is above the recommended 5% test positivity rate.
There are currently 33 positive MCPS staff members who are quarantined, and 172 total positive staff cases reported since March.
Patricia O’Neill offered this commentary in hopes that the matrix might be changed at some point: “When there was a focus only on 5 (percent positivity rate)… that we had to be on 5 to open up…that might not be anytime in the next few months. I do think the science is evolving about the opening of schools…”
Derek Turner also mentioned that “…the CDC has adjusted their guidance around quarantine length– we’ve acknowledged that. We’re waiting for some local and state guidance around transitioning to a lower number– and so we won’t implement the shorter window until we get that guidance from our state and county officials.”
The Board of Education also shared an update from their survey that was sent to families about preferences regarding reopening.
96,418 parents have responded as of December 2. 51% of families have selected a partial in-person experience and 49% of families have selected all virtual learning experience as their preference.
In addition, the Board discussed student achievement metrics and gaps for various student focus groups. They also shared concrete modifications that they are implementing to HVAC systems in schools.
All of this information and more can be found in the recording of today’s meeting: https://youtu.be/JgjciqJBb9Q
By: Michelle Katz @pike.and.rozay