10 Takeaways from MCPS’ Online Discussion About Its Recovery Plan

On Wednesday, Montgomery County Public Schools’ leadership team held a virtual conversation about about its coronavirus recovery plan for the upcoming academic year.

On Saturday, MCPS released a 21-page report called “MCPS Fall 2020: Reimagine, Reopen, Recover,” detailing how its schools may operate in the fall. The report is subject to changes depending on the coronavirus crisis.

MCPS spokesperson Derek Turner moderated the discussion about the report and MCPS’ fall plans with eight MCPS leaders: Superintendent Jack Smith; Deputy Superintendent Monifa McKnight; and Associate Superintendents Janet Wilson, Niki Hazel, Essie McGuire, Diane Morris, Kevin Lowndes, and Ruschelle Reuben.

A lot is still unknown, but here are 10 takeaways from the discussion in terms of what to possibly expect from the 2020-2021 academic year.

  1. On Aug. 31, all students will begin the school year in virtual online learning, but–depending on students learning model–students will return to schools once they are deemed safe by officials. There were reports that this would happen in November, which Smith says were false and were a “misunderstanding in the media.”
  2. Parents will receive a form in the mail where they will select the learning model their student will adhere to during the school year: either the virtual only model or the blended virtual (hybrid) model. Those who select the virtual only model, are signing their children up for online learning exclusively; those that select the “blended” model are signing their child up for a mix of virtual and in person instruction. (The blended model will not begin until school buildings are deemed safe to open)
  3. MCPS will likely adhere to an A/B rotating schedule. For the blended model, when “A” students are at school, “B” students would learn virtually and vice versa. At the high school level, students who may be in the building learning may still have classes where the instructor is teacher virtually. (Note: some students who need special support will be in the school building everyday.)
  4. Students will have four classes a day with live instruction: two in the beginning of the day, then lunch, then two at the end of the day.
  5. Every Wednesday is a remote-only learning day. This means there will be no live instruction, but teachers may share recorded lessons, and there are opportunities for individual meetings with teachers as well as student group meetups.
  6. When schools reopen a lot will be different: limited students are allowed on buses, desks will be spaced out appropriately, masks are required (and provided if students or staff need one), air will circulate more, there will be more high intensity cleaning happening throughout the day (in places like bathrooms).
  7. Staff is receiving a survey from MCPS in July, where they can address any issues like their personal health. It sounds like some teachers will have the opportunity to specify whether they need to continue working from home.
  8. MCPS is working on extracurricular activities.
  9. The fate of sports is currently unclear.
  10. MCPS will adhere to the traditional grading system

Detailed Play-By-Play of Discussion in Tweets:

Here are more details about the discussion, which lasted more than an hour, in the form of tweets:

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