Commitments for
Reopening 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:

  • Require that face masks be worn in all school buildings, buses and MCPS
  • Require that employees submit proof of vaccination or participate in weekly COVID-19 testing 
  • Encourage the use of outdoor spaces for unmasked educational and social experiences for our students
  • Facilitate continuity of educational services for students who are unable to attend in-person instruction due to the need to quarantine
  • Provide opportunities for individuals to engage in preventative measures such as frequent hand-washing and sanitizing
  • Remind students and staff that they must stay home when experiencing any possible symptoms of COVID-19
  • Ensure school facilities will be regularly sanitized, equipped with cleaning supplies, and ventilation and air quality monitored
  • Provide in-school COVID-19 pool testing for random samples of students in prekindergarten through 6th grade, since students younger than 12 are not eligible to receive the vaccine
  • Communicate clearly, concisely, and in a timely manner with families, students and staff as information becomes available
  • Respond to changing conditions so that our students will not experience major disruptions in their education
 

Ensuring Equity for All

MCPS' core principle of equity is embedded throughout the district's planning and decision-making.

How We Are
Staying Safe

safety Health and Safety Procedures

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:

Face Coverings
Face Coverings
 

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.

Cleaning
Cleaning
 

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.

Hand Sanitizer and Hand Washing
Hand Sanitizer and Hand Washing
 

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.

 
Contact Tracing
Contact Tracing
 

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.

Triage/Isolation Rooms
Triage/Isolation Rooms
 

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.

Cleaning
Access to COVID-19 Testing
 

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.

 
Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality
Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality
 

MCPS has taken these steps to improve ventilation and ensure the health and safety of students and staff:

  1. Assessed all existing systems and equipment
  2. Scheduled the replacement of all HVAC filters, upgrading them to the highest Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) efficiency possible for improved air filtration
  3. Increased fresh air ventilation in buildings
  4. Purchased portable air cleaners for installation in identified classrooms, specific offices, health rooms and areas that will be used as isolation rooms for those experiencing symptoms while at school
  5. Modified HVAC system operations to include an extended run time that will allow the air in buildings to be "flushed" before and after the facility is occupied
 
Vaccination
Vaccination
 

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.

Cleaning
Ongoing Support
 

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

 
Physical Distancing
Physical Distancing
 

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.

Quarantine
Quarantine
 

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.

 
 

Say YES to the Test—Random and Rapid COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 Rapid & Random Testing Consent (Opt-In) Form

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COVID-19 Random and Rapid Testing Now In All Schools 

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. 


Frequently Asked Questions

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Transportation and Buses

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.

Cafeterias and Lunch Areas

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.

Extra-Curricular Activities

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

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.

For detailed information, click here.

Contingency Plans

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.

What to Expect

Focus on Academics

Plan for Instructional Success

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.

Grading, Attendance, Engagement and Assessments

Grading

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.

This includes:

  • Putting students first and grading with grace. Schools will provide students with multiple opportunities for reassessment and flexibility. MCPS is mindful of the extreme challenges students faced during the pandemic and will continue to face during the recovery period.
  • Establishing recommended ranges of assignments each marking period.
  • Ensuring consistent gradebook templates (90% All Tasks/Assessments, 10% Practice/Preparation) in almost all courses.
  • Continued use of “50% Rule” and emphasizing expectations for two-way communication before assigning zeros.
  • Removing the required 10% category for required district assessments in English, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and mathematics courses, and replacing it with an ungraded gradebook category.

MCPS will also return to pre-pandemic expectations for implementation of credit recovery, attendance intervention and grade modification.

Engagement

MCPS MTSS Intervention Guidance is used to define the intervention process in MCPS. Read More

Reporting Attendance

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.

Technology

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.

In-Person

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.

Virtual

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.

Canvas

Teachers will post and share homework, calendars, course assignments and syllabi in Canvas.

Submit Feedback

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.