Please read this important message from MCPS with information about COVID-19 testing and quarantine protocols. Full message here
Lea este importante mensaje de MCPS con información sobre las pruebas de COVID-19 y los protocolos de cuarentena. Mensaje completo aquí.
Read the Reopening Guide
tiếng Việt /
Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Staff,
I am pleased to share the Montgomery County Public Schools’ Fall 2021 Reopening Guide. This guide provides an overview of our plans for a safe return to in-person instruction, five days a week, for all students. The guide also summarizes the district’s contingency plans should the County’s health conditions require operational and instructional adjustments.
Our schools will open in the fall with critical precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 without some of the previous constraints on building capacity as a result of physical distancing guidelines. All schools will open at full capacity for in-person instruction with a teacher in every classroom, a visionary administrator leading every school, and support staff providing critical wraparound services and support for our students and communities. Schools will return to their pre-pandemic bell times, class schedules and extracurricular activities. I hope that our community can breathe a collective sigh of relief that, thanks to the sacrifices we have made, our health landscape now allows for students to more fully engage with these opportunities.
The removal of certain pandemic-related restrictions does not mean that we will simply return to business as usual. We are striving to make the student experience noticeably better. We are faced with a time of great opportunity for our school system, inspired by what we learned during the pandemic and stronger because of the resiliency that sustained us through its tumult. We are squarely focused on helping students transition seamlessly back into their learning environments so they are set up for success during the year ahead—and ultimately progress towards college and career readiness.
As we prepare for the school year, MCPS’ Fall 2021 Reopening Plan is closely aligned with my charge for our students, schools and staff to PROSPER—to Put students first, Renew relationships, Open five days a week for in-person instruction, Support staff to meet students needs, Prepare for our future, Educate for equity, and Reestablish our culture of respect. I look forward to working together to ensure our students receive high-quality instruction and supports this upcoming school year and beyond.
Monifa McKnight, Ed.D.
Interim Superintendent of Schools
The Montgomery County Board of Education and MCPS strive to ensure that students receive a high-quality education in a safe environment. They commit to the following measures in order to protect students, teachers, staff, and the community:
The following Evidence of Equity questions informed the district’s fall planning efforts.
As schools reopen, the safety of students and staff remains the top priority of MCPS. MCPS continues to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics. In accordance with CDC guidance, MCPS will implement a multi-layer health and safety protocol that includes multiple strategies to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and protect school community members. Strategies include use of masks, enhanced sanitation, improved ventilation, and processes for testing, contact tracing, and quarantine, as necessary. Specific safety practices in schools and offices include:
All MCPS students, staff and visitors will be required to wear face coverings in school buildings and offices this fall, regardless of vaccination status. Approved types of masks/face coverings include: disposable masks, cloth mask coverings, gaiters, clear masks and cloth masks with clear plastic pane. Face coverings must fit properly with no large gaps around the sides of the face. Face coverings/masks will be provided for any student, staff or visitor who does not have one while in an MCPS building.
MCPS building service staff will continue to regularly clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in MCPS facilities. Special attention is given to door handles, light switches, sink handles, and other surfaces that are touched frequently. Restrooms in common areas are cleaned and disinfected more frequently throughout the day.
Regular hand-washing will be encouraged whenever students are in school buildings. Hand sanitizer will be provided to students and staff, with sanitizing stations placed throughout the building.
When a student in MCPS tests positive for COVID-19, MCPS-trained contact tracers will work with county and state health officials to identify those who have had direct contact and follow up with any quarantine instructions. MCPS will continue to post notifications of COVID-19 cases in schools on the MCPS website. Parents must notify school leadership if their child is exposed to COVID-19 or receives a positive test result.
All schools will have a designated isolation and triage space for students who develop symptoms of COVID-19 while at school. The school health services staff member will conduct an appropriate determination of the student’s condition based on their presenting symptoms.
MCPS is committed to providing students and staff with access to COVID-19 testing. Parents of students in grades preK-6 will have the option for their students to opt in to a school-based testing program whereby a random sample of students in grades preK-6 will be selected and tested on a weekly basis. Details will be shared with families at the beginning of the school year. In addition, MCPS works with the Department of Health and Human services to connect students with the County’s free network of COVID-19 testing should students develop symptoms or be exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
MCPS has taken these steps to improve ventilation and ensure the health and safety of students and staff:
MCPS urges all eligible students and staff members to receive the vaccination to protect against COVID-19. In addition, MCPS will require that employees submit proof of vaccination or participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. More details will be shared with employees prior to the start of the school year.
School administrators will be provided ongoing support to ensure effective systemwide implementation of health and safety practices.
MCPS will return to pre-pandemic class sizes and spacing. While the CDC encourages school districts to implement physical distancing to the extent possible, it cautions against implementing distancing requirements that would lead to the exclusion of students from in-person learning. Schools will also be encouraged to use outdoor spaces for unmasked educational and social experiences.
Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition, unvaccinated MCPS students and staff who have been exposed to COVID-19 must quarantine for 10 days. Students and staff who are fully vaccinated (two weeks past their last dose) are exempt from quarantine unless they develop COVID symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. Quarantine reduces COVID-19 transmission by separating those who have been exposed to the virus from the school environment. The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated individuals get tested three to five days following direct exposure to COVID-19. 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 if they are exposed to the virus. MCPS will follow quarantine and isolation guidelines set forth by the Maryland Department of Health and Maryland State Department of Education.
If a student/group of students needs to quarantine as a result of direct exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, MCPS will strive to minimize the disruption to student learning during the quarantine period by having systems in place for students to receive virtual instructional support. These structures will vary depending on the circumstances and will be communicated directly with families when the need arises. More details about this will be shared with the community prior to the start of the school year.
englishespañol中文françaisportuguês한국어 tiếng Việtአማርኛ
Montgomery County Public Schools is providing COVID-19 rapid testing in all schools to minimize student quarantines. The use of these rapid (antigen) tests, in conjunction with the other safety measures we have in place, will help keep more students in school. Staff from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will determine that a COVID-19 rapid test should be administered when a student presents to a health room with potential COVID-19 symptoms. Student participation in the rapid testing program requires parental consent. If no consent form has been submitted, DHHS staff will contact by phone the student’s parent/guardian that is identified in the student’s school records. DHHS staff will explain to the parent/guardian why their child is being considered for testing and request the parent’s/guardian’s permission to test the student. After obtaining verbal consent for testing from the student’s parent/guardian, DHHS staff will send home a consent form along with additional information about the test results. Parents/guardians are encouraged to return the consent form to school as soon as possible. Participation is voluntary.
Rapid (antigen) tests will be administered through nasal swabs and results will be available within 15-20 minutes. Rapid testing is offered in addition to the random screening test program. The random screening test program utilizes PCR tests for laboratory testing and results are typically available within 24-48 hours. All testing is provided at no cost.
If you have already submitted a consent form for the COVID-19 Screening Test Program, no further action is required. MCPS will accept consent forms received for the screening test program as consent for rapid testing. Consent for both the random screening test program and rapid testing have been consolidated onto one form. A separate form must be completed for each child.
english/ español / 中文 / français / Português / 한국어 / tiếng Việt / አማርኛ /
Bus transportation will resume for eligible families. Students and staff are required to wear masks on the bus, regardless of vaccination status. Bus drivers and attendants will clean and disinfect buses regularly. Weather permitting, bus drivers will keep the windows open to increase air circulation and decrease the likelihood of the virus being transmitted.
Masks should remain on unless students are actively eating and drinking. Students will be able to eat breakfast and lunch in cafeterias and other designated areas, including outdoor spaces when feasible.
Note: MCPS will continue to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner meals to all students in schools and at designated food distribution sites, at no cost to families.
Students, staff and guests who participate in or attend extra-curricular and fine arts programs that resume in-person in the fall will follow guidelines and protocols for in-person activities and performances. Some programs, such as singing, pose a higher risk of spreading COVID, and may require extra precautions.
For detailed information, click here.
Athletics will resume in-person in the fall and students, staff, and spectators will be expected to follow detailed protocols developed by the Covid-19 Task Force for MCPS Athletics. The guidelines address the use of masks, hand hygiene, hydration, transportation, locker rooms, and other practices related to the athletics program.
While the top priority is providing in-person instruction five days a week, MCPS is engaged in ongoing contingency planning to address potential COVID-related issues that may arise throughout the school year.
If a student/group of students need to quarantine as a result of direct exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, MCPS will strive to minimize disruption to student learning during a quarantine period by having systems in place for students to receive virtual instructional support. These structures will vary depending on the circumstances and will be communicated directly with families when the need arises. More details about this will be shared with the community prior to the start of the school year.
MCPS will not close school buildings and move to fully virtual instruction unless ordered to do so by state government officials. If the state government orders reduced capacity in school buildings, MCPS is developing a plan for hybrid instruction where students would receive in-person instruction on some days and virtual instruction on other days.
This plan for hybrid instruction will only occur if the school system is required by state government officials to reduce capacity in school buildings as a result of health conditions in the county or state.
MCPS has developed multi-year plans to ensure students can access content they missed last year and receive support to ensure they are performing on grade level.
Time is built into the school day for intervention and support at the elementary and secondary levels. In addition, students who demonstrate significant gaps in learning will have the opportunity to participate in an after-school tutoring session or receive support from external partners.
For the 2021–2022 school year, MCPS will return to pre-pandemic grading policies and procedures outlined in MCPS Regulation IKA-RA, Grading and Reporting. However, based on lessons learned in the 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 school years, when grading procedures were revised as a result of the pandemic, additional guidance is being provided to schools to build on those experiences, respond to student and community interests, and highlight best practices and expectations for the 2021–2022 school year.
MCPS will also return to pre-pandemic expectations for implementation of credit recovery, attendance intervention and grade modification.
MCPS MTSS Intervention Guidance is used to define the intervention process in MCPS. Read More
Students are expected to attend all classes in which they are enrolled. Attendance will 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 been in class. Parents/guardians must send a note, call or email 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.
All students will continue to have their own Chromebooks, case and headphones. Students will keep these tools throughout their time as MCPS students. Students and their families will use these tools at no cost, unless there is avoidable damage or loss. If avoidable damage or loss occurs, the student and family will work with their school to repair/replace the device. When the repair/replacement cost is assessed and paid, a replacement device or repaired device will be issued. Specific details about the repair/replacement program will be provided to schools for dissemination to families.
Students who do not have access to the internet at home can continue to use the Mi-Fi hotspots provided during the virtual-only learning period. The Chromebooks and Mi-Fi hotspots are Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliant, and have filters and controls on them, at all times.
Students are expected to bring their devices to and from school, as instructed by their teacher(s). The MCPS network has been designed to support all student and staff devices, so instruction and assessment using these devices should be seamless.
If students must return to a virtual learning environment, MCPS will use the same tools that it used in the virtual-only period, including Zoom and Canvas. Students will access learning from their Chromebooks. Students who currently have portable Internet devices (Mi-Fi hotspots), can continue to use them.
Teachers will post and share homework, calendars, course assignments and syllabi in Canvas.
Your comments and feedback are important and continue to help inform our planning.
Please visit www.mcpssubmitfeedback.org to provide feedback on our reopening plan throughout the year.