A Message from Interim Superintendent Dr. Monifa B. McKnight
This message was emailed to employee Outlook inboxes on Aug. 23 from Superintendent Monifa McKnight. In case you missed it, you can read it below.
Welcome to the new school year! In just a week, MCPS will welcome more than 150,000 students into our school buildings. This is a moment that so many of us have been anticipating and planning for over the past several months. Getting to this point has been a team effort.
Throughout the summer, our teachers, administrators, support staff, counselors and others have been collaborating to ensure we are ready for our students on Day 1. I’m so grateful for the work that has been done to this point and the work you and your colleagues will continue to do to make sure we start the school year right.
But amid all the excitement, we must acknowledge that the past 18 months have been extremely difficult for everyone. Our staff, students and families are still experiencing the impact that the pandemic has had on our daily lives. I am in awe of the amazing work that you have done over the past two school years to address the academic, economic and social-emotional needs of our students.
I also know that there is still concern about COVID-19 because of the Delta variant and the recent increase in cases. Our top priority is to keep you and our students safe and that is why we have put many guidelines and procedures in place. This includes ensuring that all of our staff are fully vaccinated or participate in weekly testing; requiring masks, regardless of vaccination status; and following strict cleaning and ventilation protocols. (You can learn more about our commitment to safety in our reopening guide.)
We know that the vast majority of our students will be more successful and engaged when they are in the classroom. So, keeping our school buildings open will be the foundation of every decision we make this year. We will do our part by following national, state and local health guidelines and communicating with you directly and frequently. We ask that staff, students and families do their part by getting vaccinated if they can, wearing a mask in all MCPS facilities, staying home if they are not feeling well, and letting us know as soon as possible if a case of COVID-19 occurs so that we can notify our community and conduct contact tracing.
Together, we can keep the focus of this school year where it needs to be—on meeting the needs of our students. We will provide safe places that support teaching and learning; we will identify the individual academic and social-emotional needs of our students and work together to meet them; and we will innovate and collaborate together to make this an outstanding year for everyone. The foundation of these efforts is the relationships that we build with students, and it is especially important that we invest time at the beginning of the school year to begin to renew our relationships.
By working together, we can ensure that MCPS will PROSPER (flyer). I’m honored to have the opportunity to be the interim superintendent of MCPS, especially at this unique time in our district’s history, and I am humbled to work with the best staff in public education. I look forward to our work together.
Dr. Monifa B. McKnight
Interim Superintendent of Schools