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Reimagine, Reopen, Recover

MCPS Spring 2021:
Recovery of Education


On February 9, the Board of Education voted to approve MCPS' 2021 Recovery Plan. Students in specific special education and career and technical education programs will return to buildings on March 1. Students in kindergarten through third grade will begin to return to buildings in phases starting March 15. Families will hear directly from their schools about their specific plans. Please note that the number of students returning to school, staffing and grade-level details will impact the type of experience your child’s school creates. Students remaining in virtual-only instruction will continue to engage with their teachers and classmates through established platforms. Students returning to in-person learning will experience a variety of instructional approaches to meet their learning needs .

Recovery Guide Adobe PDF icon

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MCPS Reopening

In-School Student Rotations / Spring 2021

Phases of Student Return to In-Person Learning

MCPS will start to bring back small groups of students in specific special education programs and Career and Technology Education (CTE) beginning March 1. Additional student groups are currently scheduled to return to in-person learning on March 15 (Group 1.1). Students will remain in virtual learning until their phase begins. The rollout of phases is dependent on the successful implementation of the previous phase, as well as health and safety conditions in the county.

March 1 Return

Special Education

  • Autism K-12 Program
  • Extensions Program
  • School Community-based programs
  • Special Schools

Career and Technical Education

  • Automotive
  • Construction
  • Cosmetology
  • Healthcare Professions
  • Restaurant Management

March 15 Return

Group 1.1

March 15

  • Specific Special Education Programs
  • Specific Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programs
  • Grades K-3
  • Alternative Education Programs
  • CREA
  • METS

Group 1.2

by April 6

  • Specific Special Education Programs
  • Grades 4-5
  • Prekindergarten
  • Grade 6
  • Grade 12

Group 2.1

by April 19

  • Grade 8
  • Grade 9
  • Grade 11

Group 2.2

by April 26

  • Grade 7
  • Grade 10



smaple image Important note: In all rotation models WEDNESDAYS REMAIN VIRTUAL-ONLY, except on short weeks where there is a day off. On those short weeks, Wednesdays are instructional days for all middle and high school students.

Student Attestation Form COVID-19 TESTING  

When students return for in-person learning experiences, it will look and feel much different from what they previously experienced in school buildings. How instruction will be delivered once students and staff return to buildings will be differentiated for students, given capacity restrictions and staff availability. In-person experiences will include a combination of the following models:

  • Models can be mixed interchangeably and are dependent upon staffing available.
  • Service delivery related to intervention, ESOL and special education may exist in any of the models below.
  • Considerations for teacher planning time, coverage for student arrival, dismissal, lunch and recess must all be included in analyzing and assigning staff members.
  • In-person and virtual schedules need to align in order to allow staff to serve students in both experiences within the same school.
  • In-person experiences will include a combination of the following approaches:



  • Students are physically in the building with staff.
  • Primary instruction is face-to-face and in-person model.
  • Can be for all or a portion of the day.



  • Students are physically in the building with staff.
  • The classroom teacher and another staff member support students in-person and virtually at the same time.
  • Requires the assignment of staff to provide equal attention to both virtual and in-person students.



  • Students are physically in the building with access to school staff to support their learning.
  • Students receive supervision and individualized support to successfully access virtual learning.
  • While students are enrolled and engaged in a virtual class, the support they receive will extend beyond just supervising their learning. This extended support could be, but is not limited to the following:
    This extended support could be defined but not limited to the following;
    • Academic interventions or small group instruction in English Language Arts/Math,
    • Direct teaching opportunities that are conducive to the virtual schedule,
    • Re-teaching and review of concepts from virtual instruction,
    • Structured class discussions or peer to peer collaborative learning opportunities,
    • Outside of the virtual class periods, there will be opportunities for students to attend recess, lunch, and specials (art, music, physical education) Social emotional learning or well-being activities



  • Students are physically at a non-campus setting.
  • Students remain enrolled and engaged in a virtual class.


smaple image Transporting Students To and From School Safely

  • Virtual and partial in-person schedules must be aligned; current start and end times will remain the foundation of transportation and bell times schedule. First period for middle and high schools will begin at 9 a.m. Support periods for secondary students will move to the morning to accommodate time between arrival and the start of first period.
  • Transportation times for students in specific special education and CTE programs returning March 1 and March 15 will be shared directly with families.
  • Transportation times for general education students will be similar to traditional school year times and will be posted on the MCPS transportation webpage by March 1.
  • Note: Bus route times are approximate as two or more routes with fewer students may be combined and routes with many students may be split into two buses.
Bus Seating Capacity


Technology, Operations, Logistics and Safety



MCPS will continue to provide students with the technology they need to fully engage both in virtual-only and in-person learning.

  • Chromebook devices have been provided to students at all levels.
  • Families who do not have internet access at home can continue to request mobile hotspots through their schools.

Chromebook and Technology Support

Families can contact or 240-740-7020 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. for Chromebook and other technology support.

Chromebook repair sites |Hours of operation

Chromebook distribution for students and staff will continue to take place Monday through Thursday at 45 W. Gude Drive in Rockville.



MCPS will continue to make materials available for pickup or delivery to families, such as workbooks and other instructional supplies.


Facilities and HVAC

MCPS is upgrading the air filters in the mechanical systems of all MCPS schools. This ongoing project also includes installing air cleaners in the facilities that have HVAC systems that require supplemental measures for air ventilation. The district continues to address preventive maintenance required for infrastructure and systems as well as a backlog of needed repairs and key improvement projects. You can view the progress of this work on this webpage.


Equity Hubs and Childcare

The Children’s Opportunity Fund and the Black and Brown Coalition for Educational Equity and Excellence are coordinating low-cost childcare and distance learning support for MCPS students at facilities across the county. As students return to schools for in-person instruction, these services will be accommodated to the extent possible within space and capacity constraints in each school. Learn more at or by phone at 240-200-4999. Additionally, as students return for in person learning, approved childcare providers will offer before and after-care services to the extent possible. Individual school plans will provide families with more details about these opportunities.

Math Recovery

MCPS has developed a long-range plan to address the unlearned content that occurred during the Continuity of Learning phase of the pandemic in 2020. The plan also addresses the curriculum standards that were intentionally compacted, reduced or removed in order to adapt to the virtual learning schedule. The multi-year plan will focus on meeting the needs of struggling learners and will also determine how to best identify students who need accelerated courses.



Robust Health and Safety Considerations

MCPS will implement the following health and safety practices across all schools and offices:

smaple image Health Questionnaire

Health questionnaire for staff and students

smaple image Face Coverings

Face coverings will be required and provided as needed to staff and students.

smaple image Limited Access

Access to schools will be limited to students and staff as much as possible.

smaple image Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer will be provided, with hand sanitizing stations at building entrances, and in classrooms and shared spaces.

smaple image Physical Distancing

There will be increased spacing in the building and in classrooms with fewer students in spaces. Classroom layouts and arrival and dismissal processes will be modified to maintain physical distancing.

smaple imageTraining

Students and staff will receive training on COVID-19 prevention practices, including physical distancing and face covering use. Signage and ongoing communication will supplement and reinforce training.

smaple image Hand-Washing

Hand-washing will be encouraged throughout the day and required before and after meals

smaple image No Supply Sharing

MCPS will increase ordering of all school supplies to eliminate sharing, particularly at the elementary level.

smaple image Ongoing Support

School administrators will be provided ongoing support to ensure effective systemwide implementation of health and safety practices.

smaple image MCPS Issued Devices

MCPS will continue to provide Chromebooks and other devices to students as needs are identified.

smaple image Storage Space

Increased ordering of containers to provide storage space for students in classrooms.

smaple image Cleaning

Frequent cleaning of all MCPS schools, facilities and buses.

COVID-19 Testing

We must all do our part to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in our schools. This includes participating in school-provided COVID-19 testing to identify cases where the student or staff member may not be showing symptoms. Tests will be provided for all students and staff on a weekly basis. Each swab will be placed in a common tube for that classroom or group and sent off to a central testing laboratory. The test detects whether the virus that causes COVID-19 is present in that pooled sample. Schools will receive results within 2-3 days. If you do not complete the consent form, your child will not be able to participate in the testing.

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COVID-19 Testing Schedule

COVID-19 Pool Testing began in a few schools on March 25, 2021, and is continuing across the district on a rolling basis. Elementary schools are being prioritized for testing. The following is the schedule for testing through April.The May calendar will be available by Monday, April 26, 2021. This schedule is being developed in a rolling format as it is contingent upon the placement of health contractors in schools to implement the testing on a school’s recurring testing day.


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5 Things You Need to Know About COVID-19 Testing

Updated Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines

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Isolation Period:

When a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 stays home and away from others. Even when there are no symptoms, it is important to isolate to reduce the risk of exposure and potential transmission. Previously, MCPS required individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 to isolate for 14 days. In alignment with CDC, Maryland Department of Health and Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, the required isolation period is now 10 days.

Read More

Quarantine Period:

When someone who has been exposed to an individual positive for COVID-19 stays home and self-monitors for symptoms. Quarantine reduces transmission by separating those who have been exposed to the virus. Previously MCPS required those exposed to COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days. In alignment with the CDC, Maryland Department of Health and Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Service guidelines, the required quarantine period is reduced to 10 days if: 

  • NO symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring; and
  • Daily symptom monitoring continues through Day 14; and
  • Quarantined individuals adhere to mitigation strategies, including using a face covering, physical distancing and self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 through Day 14; and
  • Quarantined individuals immediately isolate and contact their health care provider if symptoms develop to determine whether they need to be tested. 

Note: Children younger than 5 years old and those with a disability or medical condition that makes wearing a face covering unsafe MUST quarantine for 14 days.

Fully Vaccinated Exposure Exemption

Students and staff who are fully vaccinated (two weeks past their last dose) are exempt from quarantine if they have direct contact with someone who has tested positive or is suspected to have COVID-19.

  • Students can continue to attend school in-person, and staff can continue to work in a school or office building.
  • Fully vaccinated people should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure. If they experience symptoms, they should isolate and be tested for COVID-19

Recent Changes 

Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People



Food Services

Meal Service

In addition to providing meals for students receiving in-person instruction, MCPS will continue to provide
breakfast and lunch meals to students at designated food distribution sites throughout the county.
More information will be posted on the MCPS Meal Service website. .

smaple image Encourage Bringing Lunch

Encourage students to bring their own meals as feasible, or serve individual grab-and-go meals in classrooms and in flexible spaces like the cafeteria, while ensuring the safety of children with food allergies.

smaple image Enforce Hand-Washing

We will enforce strict hand-washing with soap and water after meals.

smaple image Disinfect Surfaces

We will disinfect surfaces regularly.

smaple image No Sharing Food

We will continue to practice the “do not share” food policy among students.

smaple image Review Food Allergy Plans

Before school resumes, teachers and school leaders will review food allergy and 504 plans for all children with food allergies.


Grading, Attendance and Engagement



MCPS will continue to use a traditional letter grade grading system. Based on feedback received throughout the first semester, teachers at the secondary level have been provided with updated guidance that promotes greater flexibility with due dates and deadlines, and careful attention to student workload and the number of graded assignments that students are expected to complete.

Also at the secondary level, middle and high school students are able to take up to two courses Credit/No Credit (Pass/Fail) in courses not specifically required for graduation, using MCPS Form 270-32, High School or MCPS Form 270-32A, Middle School. This includes Certificate of Merit courses that are not required for graduation. Students/parents/guardians will have until the beginning of the fourth marking period to make the decision about Credit/No Credit or withdraw from a course, without notation on the transcript (extended from the 25th day of the semester).  In addition, students/parents/guardians will be permitted to retroactively apply the Credit/No Credit option to courses taken during the first semester of the 2020-21 school year.


Reporting Attendance

Students are expected to attend all classes in which they are enrolled. A student will be marked present for a class in one of three ways:

  • Student attends a class via Zoom or other similar platform (at home) or in-person (within the school building)
  • Student completes an Attendance Check-in on myMCPS Classroom during a live or recorded class
  • Student engages in an online discussion thread on myMCPS Classroom during a live or recorded class

Attendance will continue to be recorded in the student information system and will be visible to parents through the parent portal. In addition, ConnectEd calls and other parent outreach will occur regularly to inform parents if their child has not attended.

Parents/guardians must submit a note, phone call, or email to the attendance secretary if a student will be absent for a full or partial school day. All absences for which no documentation is received (i.e., parent note, doctor’s note) will be listed as unexcused.



The student engagement monitoring program mobilizes staff and resources across the district to meet individual student and family needs. The district tracks individual student engagement at the school and central office level and developing specific outreach plans to address student needs and connect with families who are struggling to engage in virtual learning.

NOTE: Montgomery County Board of Education policies and MCPS regulations remain in effect as stated on the policies and regulation webpage. However, Board of Education resolutions and procedures in this Recovery of Education Guide may call for temporary adjustments to stated policies and procedures for the duration of the MCPS response to COVID-19, and those adjustments supersede existing policies and regulations.

Class of 2021

March 11, 2021 update on prom/senior activities:

Dear Parents, Guardians and Students:

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is collaborating with student, parent and community stakeholders to plan for potential in-person graduation ceremonies in June. More information about commencement ceremonies will be shared by April 15.

We also want to provide an update on the planning and initial considerations for other senior activities and events, such as prom. Ensuring the safety of students is our top priority and all state, county and district safety guidelines and processes must be followed for any in-person event, whether indoors or outdoors. At this time, while the state has lifted many of its restrictions on venue capacity, Montgomery County still has restrictions on the number of people who can gather at restaurants, conferences and event spaces. You can view details of those restrictions here..

As an alternative to traditional indoor prom events, MCPS is planning to hold outdoor events on our high school campuses in May. The current proposal is for a Senior Unity Day that would focus exclusively on 12th grade students and allow for an in-person social event. The district is working with stakeholders to discuss and design what this event could look like. Health and safety guidelines will play a significant role in the design of this program. We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of the Class of 2021 and will keep you updated.

Resources and Videos

MCPS Reimagine, Reopen, Recover: Instructional Experiences

Montgomery County Public Schools has developed several instructional experiences that students will participate in as MCPS begins to transition some students to in-school learning.

MCPS Reimagine, Reopen, Recover: Rotations

As MCPS plans for in-person instruction, the health and safety of students and staff remains a top priority. This video outlines the planned approach for safely returning groups of students to school.

Reimagine, Reopen, Recover: Health and Safety

Safety is MCPS’s primary concern as the district thinks through and considers the return of students to schools. Getting to, getting into, and being in school will have to be done in new ways when students return to our school buildings. Watch this video for an overview of a few of the recovery models we are considering at this time.

Reimagine, Reopen, Recover: School Building Preparations

Reimagine, Reopen, Recover: Return To R.A.I.S.E

An explanation of the procedures in place for the safety of all players, coaches, and spectators as they return to campus for athletics.

MCPS Reimagine, Reopen, Recover: 5 Things to Know About a Return to In-Person Learning