Results Are In: 42% of Parents Want Kids at School, 25% of Staff Want to be at School

A media tour at College Gardens Elementary School to demonstrate safety guidelines as MCPS prepares to possibly reopen schools.

In June, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) launched parent and staff surveys asking for input about education for the fall semester. 

On Tuesday, results were shared at a Board of Education meeting. 55,839 residents responded to the online parent survey, and about 7,000 responded to a phone survey targeted at zip codes with low online responses. 

42% of respondents to the parent survey said they plan to send their children to in-person school. 22% said they’re planning for virtual-only learning, and 35% said they haven’t decided.

16,965 residents responded to the online staff survey. 25% of respondents said they want to return to in-person work. 52% said they want the opportunity to work virtually, and 22% said they aren’t sure yet. 

Respondents were also asked to designate which factors were important to them in deciding whether to send their children to school, or to return to school for work. The school board highlighted the factors that at least 50% of respondents said were “very important.”

In the parent survey, 92% said the physical health and safety of their child is very important. Other factors that were deemed the same by at least 50% are social distancing in class, staggered recess and lunch, a staggered school day and equity of student access and activity. 

In the staff survey, 93% said that staff health and safety is very important. At least half of the respondents also said enhanced cleaning, plans for safety protocol and reporting COVID-19 exposure, limited seating, a staggered schedule, student equity in access and opportunity, staff mental health support and remote work until returning is safe are very important. 

In a draft plan released Saturday, MCPS anticipates starting the school year on Aug. 31 completely virtually. Students will phase into school for in-person learning, with students in special education programs and those entering new school levels phasing in first.

MCPS plans for three phases, with each to last two to four weeks depending on school level, grade and age. The school system hopes that all grades will be in an in-person rotation by the end of November, but is prepared to shift to virtual-only learning if necessary. 

An outline of phases in the draft plan from MCPS:

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