Last week, Chief Executive Officer Dr. Monica Goldson announced plans to reopen Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) for in-person hybrid teaching and learning starting in April while giving families the opportunity to continue distance learning through the end of the school year.
Dr. Goldson emphasized the importance of striking a balance between safety, academics and well-being amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who prefer to take online classes may look into the programs offered by online colleges for military.
“While we have made substantial investments to implement a virtual learning experience for all of our students, we know that nothing can truly replace the experience of interacting with their educators and classmates in a classroom. At the same time, our highest priority from the very beginning of this pandemic and to this day continues to be the safety of our students and staff,” said Dr. Goldson. “In April, we will implement a hybrid learning schedule, where students can split their time between in-person and remote learning, and that families may opt into. We believe this plan prioritizes health, safety, equity and excellence.”
PGCPS will distribute a survey through schools today to all families so they can select to either continue virtual learning for the remainder of the school year or begin hybrid instruction two days a week in April until the end of the school year. Families will have until Sunday, February 28 to complete the survey. The hybrid learning model will include staggered scheduling with students divided into two groups for in-person instruction on back to back days with appropriate social distancing in classrooms and throughout the school building. The remaining three days will be spent in distance learning sessions each week.
Return to Teaching and Learning
Next month, the school system will welcome all educators back into classrooms ahead of students and return central office staff to their assigned work locations. On Thursday, April 8, Phase 1 instruction will begin with a two-day hybrid learning schedule for all special education students in kindergarten through 12th grade and for students in prekindergarten through sixth grade and 12th grade. On Thursday, April 15, Phase 2 instruction will begin for all remaining seventh- through 11th-graders.
Athletics / Key Spring Dates
For students involved in athletic activities, coaches may begin in-person afterschool conditioning and outdoor workouts on Wednesday, March 10. Spring sports season practice will begin Tuesday, April 6. In addition, Spring Break will proceed as scheduled from Monday, March 29 through Monday, April 5. Please note the last day of school for students will be Tuesday, June 15; for teachers, the last day will be Wednesday, June 16.
Academic and Safety Enhancements
Over the last several months, PGCPS has made record investments to help improve distance learning and implement hybrid educational models, focusing on professional development for educators around virtual teaching and learning, and used federal funding to help purchase cutting-edge technology to assist these efforts.
Vaccination clinics will continue in collaboration with the Prince George’s County Health Department and Kaiser Permanente. The Maryland COVID Testing Program will allow PGCPS to offer rapid and diagnostic testing for both symptomatic and asymptomatic students and staff. PGCPS currently conducts contact tracing for staff and will adopt similar protocols for students upon their return. Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be available to all staff and students when in-person learning resumes. Air filters in all schools and office buildings were upgraded to the CDC-recommended Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 13 with appropriate air quality testing conducted in all schools.
The school system’s current cleaning protocols require the PGCPS Environmental Team to respond with thorough cleaning and disinfecting of any facilities or areas within 24 hours of a known case of COVID-19.
“As a school system, we have shown restraint in not rushing to reopen,” said Dr. Goldson, “and we will continue to adhere to metrics for safe school reopening based on COVID-19 indicators.”[ Source: PGCPS]