Dear MCPS Community,
As the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) grows in the Washington area, MCPS remains committed to providing all families, staff and students with timely and accurate information, resources and updates about the coronavirus and how it affects our community and school operations.
Our schools remain open and instruction will continue as usual. As a reminder, decisions about school closures during a public health crisis are made by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. If a decision is made to close schools, it would be shared with the community-at-large as soon as we are made aware.
MCPS continues to put preventive measures in place to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Below is some new information since our March 9 communication:
Further Restrictions of Field Trips and Athletics
Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all out-of-state field trips and athletic events are suspended until further notice. This guidance will be updated no later than the week of April 20, 2020. All scheduled trips and athletic events within Maryland will continue as planned.
There have been questions and requests for MCPS to change and/or extend its spring break. At this time, MCPS has no plans to change the spring break dates. Spring break is set for April 6-13. We will provide an update to the community if there are any changes to the dates.
Student LearningOur goal is to ensure student learning continues using methods that are readily available and accessible to all students. MCPS staff has prepared a variety of instructional materials and resources for students in the event of a short-term or long-term closure. These materials will be provided in hard copy format, as well as online via the myMCPS Canvas platform and the MCPS website. As we shared in our March 9, 2020 community message, these materials and resources would be made available only in the event that schools are closed. At this time, MCPS schools remain open and instruction will continue as usual until a change is deemed necessary by local and state health professionals.
Student AbsencesWe recognize and understand the growing concern about the possible spread of the coronavirus in our schools and community. While health officials continue to share that they believe there is a low health risk for our schools, we understand that some parents may want to take additional steps now, including keeping their children home. All healthy students and staff can and should continue to attend school as normal, however if you would like to keep your child home out of an abundance of caution and/or for health-related reasons, we want to assure you that all absences will be excused. We are asking that parents provide a note within three school days after their children return to school. Students will be permitted to make up work upon their return to school.
How to Talk to Your Children About COVID-19 (coronavirus)
A number of reputable national organizations have developed guidelines for parents, caregivers and teachers for talking with children about the coronavirus and infectious disease outbreaks. Some of the resources can be found on our coronavirus webpage and are also linked below.
Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource (More information to help conversations with children)
Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus
Up-to-Date Information and Resources
Any information about school closures or updates relating to the coronavirus will come directly from county health officials and MCPS. All updates and critical information will be shared with all MCPS families through a number of communication tools, including BlackBoard ConnectEd, ConnectEd phone calls, the MCPS website and coronavirus webpage and official MCPS social media pages (Twitter and Facebook). We encourage you to visit the MCPS coronavirus webpage to read the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) best practices for health and who to contact if you believe you have been exposed to coronavirus.
Best Practices for Your Health
The CDC and local health officials continue to share the following best practices as important steps to prevent the spread of this virus:
- Avoid interaction with people who are sick/ill.
- If you are sick, please stay at home.
- Do not travel if you are sick/ill.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
Individuals who believe they are at risk or have been exposed to the coronavirus are encouraged to contact their personal healthcare provider. Unless you recently traveled to a country on the CDC list, there is no need for you to self-quarantine. You may also call the Montgomery County Department of Disease Control and Epidemiology at 240-777-1755 or the Maryland Department of Health Infectious Disease Bureau at 410-767-6700. If you are not able to be seen by your primary care doctor, you are encouraged to contact an urgent care facility or your local emergency room. Visit https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/HHS/RightNav/Coronavirus.html for additional guidance.
You have our commitment that our focus and top priority during this concerning time is to ensure student safety and inform our communities of any updates or critical information.
Montgomery County Public Schools