Board of Education Votes to Accelerate Timeline of Student Return
Here are five important things you need to know about the March 23 Board of Education discussion on MCPS’ reopening plan and what’s ahead:
- The Board voted to speed up the current timeline for the return of student groups. Students in Phase II Groups 2.1 and 2.2 will begin their phased return to school buildings by April 19. Group 2.2 was originally scheduled to begin their return on April 26.
- Stay safe over spring break and take a COVID-19 test. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Montgomery County health officials are discouraging out-of-state travel over spring break. If you travel, we strongly encourage you to take a COVID-19 test before you return to a school building. To ensure you have time to test, Tuesday, April 6 is now a virtual learning day for ALL students. Wednesday, April 7 will remain a virtual day as scheduled. Students scheduled to return on April 6 (Group 1.2) will return to buildings on Thursday, April 8. You can get a COVID-19 test from your healthcare provider or for free at a county testing site. Please take this important step to keep our community safe.
- COVID-19 pool testing for students and staff participating in in-person learning will begin after spring break. Testing will be rolled out in phases, with our program beginning in schools on Thursday, April 8. A few schools are piloting the program before spring break; these school communities have been notified. Weekly tests will be available for all students and staff who complete the required consent form. Each self-administered swab test will be placed in a common tube for that classroom or pool and sent off to a central testing laboratory. A dedicated health professional will oversee and assist in test administration and collection in each school. The test detects whether the virus that causes COVID-19 is present in that pooled sample. Schools will receive results within a few business days and families will be notified of next steps if there is a positive case in their child’s classroom or pool. A consent form, available in seven languages, is available at this website. If you do not complete the consent form, your student will be opted out of testing. Watch this video for five things you need to know about COVID-19 testing in our schools. Additionally, thermometers are being sent to all MCPS schools and will be sent home with students when they return to school buildings. Schools will receive thermometers over the next two weeks and will notify families when they are being sent home with students.
- MCPS is planning a range of summer programs for elementary, middle and high school students. Programs will help address learning loss, with a focus on mathematics, literacy, electives and preparing for the next grade level. Elementary and middle schools will offer programs that include mathematics, literacy and specials/electives. At the high school level, there will be opportunities to earn credits in all subject areas required for graduation, for both repeat and original credit, as well as non-credit options in local schools. Programs will:
- Be offered at no cost to all students, with transportation available
- Be offered in all local schools/clusters
- Have all-virtual and in-person options
Registration will open Monday, May 3. High school programs will begin Monday, June 28 and elementary and middle school programs will begin Tuesday, July 6. More information is available here.
- The MCPS COVID-19 dashboard will help the community keep track of key health metrics and positive cases in our school communities. All school notification letters are posted on this site. The dashboard will be updated to display the cumulative number of positive cases reported for students and staff. These updates will be available in early April. MCPS is also exploring the impact of the updated classroom distancing guidance provided by the CDC. More information will be shared with the Board of Education at an upcoming meeting.
Read the community update here.