Multiple times during Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education (BOE), school administration staff repeated that there will be a five-day-a-week in-school program in the fall, with a virtual academy offered to those who request them. This will be accomplished using a social distancing guideline of three feet.
The BOE also discussed graduation plans, student waiting lists and summer school.
All high schools will have outdoor graduation ceremonies on their respective campuses. MCPS will provide the caps, gowns and yard signs for the 12,000 students expected to graduate at the end of this school year. It also will pay for rental of chairs, tents and other graduation day supplies. Each student will be permitted to invite two guests.
For students graduating elementary and middle schools, their ceremonies will be virtual although each school is expected to welcome the fifth and eighth graders to their building in smaller groups for some form of recognition and fun events.
“This is their last year together,” noted Deputy Superintendent Monifa McKnight.
A waiting list for students to return into the school building remains. There are 585 students on that list, including 342 elementary school students, 129 middle school students and 144 high school students. Initially, when students first returned to the classroom, there were 1,542 students on the waiting list.
“We are looking at the numbers every single day to see what adjustments we need to make,” said Niki Hazel, associate superintendent.
In person summer school will be offered. To date, 16,756 students have signed up and slightly more than half of them, almost 9,000, are choosing to come into the classroom, according to Hazel. In school students will be offered transportation, breakfast and lunch and health services. Those who want to attend in person need to register at their school.
Hazel said MCPS is working to make sure there are enough teachers to accommodate the number of students who want to attend summer school. “If schools don’t have enough staff, we will work to make sure a teacher at a different site will be available,” she noted. Also, some classes will be offered both in the morning and afternoon.
Currently, about 70,000 students are learning in the classroom out of a student body of 160,000.