The Latest on Returning to In-Person Instruction
The following message was emailed to staff today, Nov. 11.
The Montgomery County Board of Education has tentatively approved Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS’) framework for the phased return of students to in-person learning beginning January 2021. The framework was presented to the Board of Education on Nov. 6 and outlines the district’s plan for a phased-in return to in-person instruction. You can watch the video of the Nov. 10 discussion here and view the PowerPoint slides here.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- MCPS has developed a health metrics dashboard for a safe, phased-in return to in-person instruction.
- If metrics are met, the district will start to bring some students back for in-person instruction beginning Jan. 12, 2021. The initial return will focus solely on students in specific special education and Career Technology Education (CTE) programs. These families will be notified if selected.
- Larger groups of students may begin phasing in on Feb. 1, 2021.
- An exclusively virtual learning option will be available for families who do not wish to return to in-person learning.
- A survey is now open for parents to indicate if they want their child to remain exclusively in a virtual learning environment or engage in a combination of in-person and virtual instruction during the second semester.
- In-person experiences could include a combination of the three following models:
- In-person support for virtual learning. Students will receive staff support with organization, understanding, and completing virtual coursework.
- Simultaneous learning. Students will be engaged in classrooms that combine in-person instruction with students engaging remotely.
- Direct instruction. Students will receive in-person instruction without a remote component for that particular course.
- How instruction will be delivered once we return to buildings may be differentiated for students, given capacity restrictions and staff availability. Parents will receive more information about their school-specific model in January Parent survey responses will be used to develop each community and level-specific model. Again, all students may opt to remain fully virtual, and we know the virtual model will play a significant role in our delivery of instruction for the foreseeable future.
Important Staff Supports
Information to help determine whether you may qualify for an accommodation based on qualifying health concerns or dependent care needs related to COVID-19 is available at our Applying for COVID-19 Related Accomodations and Leave website. This site provides a one-stop location to learn about the processes for requesting such an accommodation, as well as the ability to submit your application and supporting documentation. Additionally, on this site, staff can find Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and process maps for employees, principals, and supervisors on what to do if you become infected with COVID-19. All staff are also asked to watch this important video on the 5 Pillars of Public Health during COVID-19 prior to returning to buildings.
COVID-19 Data Dashboard
MCPS has launched a COVID-19 dashboard that provides the community with a visual demonstration of the identified health metrics that guide our conversations about the safe return to in-person learning. It also provides information on how many MCPS staff members have reported positive COVID-19 cases, how many are currently quarantined and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Parent Preference Survey Closes Dec. 3
Starting today, Nov. 11, parents will be asked to complete this short survey to indicate whether their child(ren) will remain exclusively in a virtual learning environment or engage in a combination of in-person and virtual instruction during the second semester. Both options would allow students to participate in in-person athletics and extracurricular activities. Parents will also be asked to indicate if their child needs MCPS-provided transportation. We want to reiterate that families do have the choice to remain in a fully virtual model if they are uncomfortable with sending their child(ren) back to a school building. Please note that once they’ve made their selection, changes may be made only under unique circumstances. Additionally, any family that does not make a selection will automatically default to the virtual-only experience in order to ensure we consider and plan for maximum staffing and space use. The survey closes Dec. 3 and families will receive details on next steps and school-specific information in January.
Special Education Assessment Centers
If health metrics allow, on December 3, MCPS will open special education assessment centers at Hallie Wells, Sligo and Julius West middle schools, where families will be able to receive support by appointment Monday through Friday. These assessment centers will provide families opportunities to participate in in-person educational and psychological assessments to determine initial and ongoing special education eligibility.
The Board will continue the discussion on this framework during a work session on Nov. 17 and is expected to vote on a final plan on Dec. 3. We understand that families will have many questions as they determine what model will work best for their student. We encourage you to tune in to the virtual conversation we will have on Nov. 12 to address your questions and feedback on the framework. The virtual conversation will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be streamed live on the MCPS website, MCPS TV (Comcast 34, Verizon 36 and RCN 89) and YouTube. Submit questions in advance by visiting www.mcpssubmitquestion.org. Parents who have questions about the survey can contact email@example.com.
Thank you for your continued support.
Montgomery County Public Schools