Skip to main content

Ensuring Equity for All

MCPS' core principle of equity is embedded throughout the district's planning
and decision-making. The following Evidence of Equity questions informed the district's
fall planning efforts.

  1. Whom does this practice/decision serve or neglect?

    Which racial/ethnic groups are currently most advantaged and most disadvantaged by the practice or decision?
    How are they affected differently?

  2. Whose voices are dominating or lacking from the conversation?

    Who is missing and how can they be engaged?
    How have they been informed, meaningfully involved, and authentically represented in the development of this practice/decision?

  3. What adverse impacts or unintended consequences could result from this decision?

    Which racial/ethnic groups could be negatively affected?
    How could adverse impacts be prevented and what provisions will be changed or added to ensure positive impacts on racial equity and outcomes?

  4. What steps are in place for ongoing data collection and reflection of the outcomes?

    What data points are we using and not using in this decision?
    How will results and outcomes be documented and communicated to all stakeholders?

  5. How diverse are the stakeholders leading the implementation?

    Are diverse identities and perspectives (racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic, education level, roles/positions) represented and informing the implementation of the practice or decision?

Read the full Equity Plan for Return to Schools here.


2023 Antiracist Audit (MCPS)

Antiracist System Audit

On May 11, 2023 the Antiracist System Action was presented to the Board of Education and community. The action plan was created in partnership with community members and a variety of offices. The plan outlines actionable deliverables for each of the six domains examined in the audit. The action plan can be found on the website. Antiracist System Audit

MCPS leadership continues to address the finding and recommendations by participating in professional learning focused on antiracist leadership. Last year we established the Antiracist District-Wide Implementation Team. This 60-member team has developed tools and resources to support students, staff and families.

Culturally Responsive Family Engagement

Culturally Responsive Family Engagement

All principals have received professional development on family and community engagement through the school improvement process and have received resources, support and coaching on anti-racist and culturally appropriate ways to engage parents and caregivers.

These resources include:

  • A step-by-step planning guide that provides guiding questions, considerations and examples to plan for effective family engagement and communication
  • Professional development modules with expectations to ensure on-going parent engagement within the school-improvement process
  • Support for writing clear communication and developing culturally proficient mediums to a engage a diverse community

Additionally, ongoing, community engagement professional development for school leaders will be deployed for 2023-2024 through a menu of differentiated options tailored for needs of individual communities.

Community Engagement Policy


Operations, Logistics and Safety

Bell Times

MCPS schools will maintain their normal, pre-pandemic bell times for the 2023-2024 school year.

Level Time Length of Day
High School 7:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 6 hours, 45 minutes
Middle School 8:15 a.m.-3:00 p.m. 6 hours, 45 minutes
Elementary School Tier 1 9:00 a.m.-3:25 p.m. 6 hours, 25 minutes
Elementary School Tier 2 9:25 a.m.-3:50 p.m. 6 hours, 25 minutes

Student and Staff Safety and Security

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is committed to providing the safety of all persons on MCPS property and creating and maintaining safe, peaceful schools and workplaces where students and staff can do their best work, achieve, and thrive. Mental health and well-being supports continue to be a priority in schools, as we work with multiple community stakeholder groups and the Department of Health and Human Services to provide services to address students' needs for social-emotional and health support. We continue to collaborating with our law enforcement partners, including the Community Engagement Officer (CEO) program, to promote safe, inclusive, and positive learning environments for our students. The MCPS Office of Systemwide Safety and Emergency Management continues to emphasize safety and emergency preparedness in their work with school staff, students, and communities.

Safe Transportation of Students

MCPS Department of Transportation is committed to providing safe, reliable, and equitable access to transportation so all students may achieve educational success and academic excellence.

Normal transportation routes and capacity will continue for the 2023-2024 school year. Families have been notified of the bus routes for their assigned school. This information may also be found on the MCPS website and by selecting the school from the menu to view the bus routes.

The Montgomery County Safe Routes to School Program, continues to offer resources that aim to significantly improve safety for students who walk and bike to school, as well as resources for promoting school bus safety, at the bus stop, during loading and unloading, and during the bus ride.


Health and Safety Procedures

MCPS is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our staff and students. The school system receives guidance from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and other agencies who have regulations that apply to our school and work environments.

Regarding COVID-19 and other respiratory infections, joint guidance from MDH and MSDE recommended that public school systems work with their local health department on following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs.  Montgomery County DHHS serves as our local health authority and operates our school-based health services. MCPS works closely with DHHS on population health strategy and to ensure a comprehensive, community-based approach to the well-being of our public school students, their families, and our staff members.

Everyday prevention strategies are the foundation of our health and safety approach. Practiced consistently, these common-sense measures promote health and prevent the spread of illness. Depending on local illness trends, additional measures may be temporarily recommended or required at the classroom, activity, or school levels.

Core Health Strategies

Basic health practices including staying home when sick, hand-washing and covering mouths when coughing or sneezing remain critical tools in preventing spread of illness in schools. Additional core health strategies are detailed below.

Cleaning Cleaning

Building service staff continue to follow established and expanded protocols for cleaning and disinfection of school and work areas, with more frequent attention to high-contact areas such as door handles, sink handles and other surfaces that are touched frequently.  Students will not be permitted to handle disinfecting/sanitizing wipes or other hazardous cleaning agents approved for staff use. Non-approved home cleaning products should not be used in MCPS buildings.


Certain immunizations are required for school attendance, as determined by the state health department, and are monitored by school-based staff. MCPS strongly recommends eligible students and staff members remain up to date on all CDC recommended immunizations that protect against infectious disease, including the COVID-19 and seasonal influenza vaccines.  

Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality
Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality

MCPS continues to follow guidance from The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to optimize ventilation and indoor air quality for health and safety. Measures have included complete evaluation of all school HVAC systems, upgrading and replacing HVAC filters, extending HVAC run times, and installing portable air cleaners in strategic spaces. More information on these expanded and ongoing measures and the work of the MCPS Indoor Air Quality Team can be found on the MCPS website.

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 buildings.

COVID-19 Mitigation

Additional layered strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools will be implemented based on CDC community levels and in local, higher risk situations. Additional COVID-19 mitigation strategies are detailed below.

Core Health Strategies
Face Coverings

Per MSDE, local school districts may decide how to use well-fitting face coverings to maintain safe, in-person learning. At MCPS, masks continue to be voluntary except as required by CDC COVID-19 guidelines for isolation, for individuals who become sick at school or are returning after the minimum 5-day isolation period. Masks may be temporarily recommended or required in local outbreaks of respiratory illness.  Health rooms and school based health clinics may have different requirements specified by DHHS. Regardless of community levels of respiratory illness, individuals are supported in voluntary mask wear to protect their own or others’ health. Alternative or additional actions will be recommended when individuals cannot safely mask due to young age or a health condition.

Ongoing Support

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

Contact Tracing
Contact Tracing and Case Notification

In alignment with updated MSDE/MDH guidance, MCPS is no longer conducting universal contact tracing for individual cases of COVID-19. Staff and families receive notification of an exposure if there is an identified case of COVID-19 in a high-risk cohort situation or local outbreak. MCPS will collaborate with DHHS to support outbreak investigation according to state and local regulations for outbreak-associated COVID-19 cases in schools. MCPS continues to make reported COVID-19 case data available to our staff, students and community on our COVID-19 dashboard. The dashboard is updated daily based on reported cases and reflects cases both at the individual school and office level as well as system wide data for the school year.

Triage/Isolation Rooms
Triage/Isolation Rooms

For the 2022-2023 school year, schools will not operate dedicated isolation and triage rooms. MCPS will ensure students who have tested positive for COVID-19 during the school day are able to mask and physically distance themselves from others while waiting for prompt pick-up.

Access to COVID-19 Testing
Access to COVID-19 Testing

The CDC no longer recommends routine screening testing in K-12 schools. MCPS will leverage and support screening testing in higher risk situations, including school-based outbreaks and at strategic times related to high-risk activities, large gatherings or following school breaks with a high volume of travel. In collaboration with Montgomery County DHHS School Health Services, MCPS will continue to support testing of students who present with COVID-19 symptoms during the school day. As testing and isolation of COVID-19 positive individuals is a core strategy in supporting safe in-person learning, MCPS continues to support equitable access to testing, and and strongly encourages staff and students to self-report positive COVID test results on the MCPS reporting tool.

Physical Distancing
Physical Distancing

MCPS will return to pre-pandemic classroom capacity 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 may use outdoor spaces, when feasible, for lunch and unmasked educational and social experiences for students.


Following updated guidance from the CDC and MSDE/MDH, regardless of vaccination status, quarantine is no longer recommended for people exposed to COVID-19 except in certain high-risk congregate settings. Students identified as close contacts of individuals positive for COVID-19 may continue in-person learning as long as they are asymptomatic and follow procedures for masking, testing, and for individuals who develop symptoms after a close contact exposure. Additional strategies may be recommended for individuals who are unable to safely mask. Staff or students who test positive for COVID-19 should follow CDC recommended isolation guidelines.

Food and Nutrition Services

The MCPS Department of Food and Nutrition Services (DFNS) will continue with regular meal services during the 2023–2024 school year. 

Important to Note: Students in Maryland who qualify for reduced-price meals will not be charged for breakfast or lunch meals.


Regular Price: $1.30;
Reduced Price: No Cost


Regular Price: $2.55 (Elementary), $2.80 (Middle and High);
Reduced Price All Levels: No Cost

Free and Reduced-price Meals System (FARMS) applications have been updated for the new school year, and are now available online at; this is the preferred application method. All interested families must reapply each school year. All children use their MCPS ID number or barcode at the register confidentiality is maintained and no child is overtly identified as receiving free or reduced-price meals.

MCPS will be providing free breakfast and lunch at 57 schools in the 2023–2024 school year via the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). Additional information will be shared with the selected participating schools.


Access to All Eating Areas and Contingency Plans

Access to All Eating Areas

Students will be able to eat breakfast and lunch in cafeterias and other available eating areas. Schools are encouraged to take advantage of outdoor spaces when possible so that students can eat in areas that pose a lower risk of virus transmission. High schools may return to open campus lunch. 

Contingency Plans

While the top priority is providing in-person instruction five days per week, MCPS is engaged in ongoing contingency planning to address potential COVID-19--related issues that may arise throughout the school year.

If a student positive for COVID-19 needs to isolate or miss school due to illness, MCPS will strive to minimize disruption to student learning during this period.

The Board of Education will not close school buildings and/or move to fully virtual instruction unless ordered to do so by state government officials or the local health department. If officials order reduced capacity in school buildings, elementary level students will be provided with check in opportunities throughout the day. Resources will be delivered through Canvas. At the secondary level, students will receive tasks aligned to classroom learning through the Canvas platform. Check-in opportunities with content teachers will be provided throughout the day.

After a review of multiple factors, a school may be moved to virtual learning for five calendar days in the interest of the overall school community’s health and safety.  The decision to pause in-person instruction involves the examination of a number of key factors; these key factors are taken into consideration with each individual school’s unique characteristics that range from specific programs to operational readiness. Individual school communities will receive a letter announcing the change and some of the specifics that helped inform the decision for that individual school.

The key factors used in this decision include: 

  • Student attendance rate (three-day average)
  • Staff absences (three-day average)
  • Number of bus routes unable to provide service in both morning and afternoon (three-day average)
  • Unfilled substitute requests (three-day average)
  • COVID-19 cases among students and staff in the past 10 days
  • Feedback from a multistakeholder group from the school community

To prepare for this change in operations, teachers will have one day of preparation where students will participate in remote asynchronous learning. Full virtual, teacher-led instruction will then take place. Families will receive information, guidance and resources for what to expect in virtual learning. Childcare programs may continue as scheduled.

Contingency plans for instruction will only occur if the school system is required by an authorized county or state government agency to reduce capacity in school buildings as a result of health conditions in the county or state.


What to Expect:
Curriculum and Instruction

Plan for Instructional Success

MCPS’ core purpose is to provide a strong academic program that helps all students to thrive in their futures. During the 2023-2024 school year, MCPS will continue addressing learning disruption and implementing support plans to ensure all students perform on level. The district has developed multi-year plans to ensure all students can access and receive support for any pandemic-related missed content. Guidance, support and professional learning will allow teachers to build a solid foundation focused on missed or condensed instruction. As teachers plan lessons, they will focus on addressing core standards and student needs in alignment with the Pre-K-12 Maryland College and Career Ready Standards (MCCRS) and State Standards.

Time is included in the instructional schedules for intervention and support at the elementary and secondary levels.

Math Recovery Plan

The MCPS Mathematics Program is designed to challenge students of all levels. The goal is for students to successfully complete Algebra 1 in Grades 7, 8, or 9, as appropriate, and be prepared for higher-level mathematics in high school, including Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes. Adjustments are being made to the plan to address missed content due to the pandemic. What are the Guiding Principles of the Mathematics Recovery Plan?

  • Five days of math instruction is delivered each week.
  • Grade-level students engage in grade-level content.
  • Learning focuses on the major work of the grade and adds back supporting/additional work.

To view the plan, please click here.

Elementary and Secondary Literacy Recovery Plans


College and Career Readiness



Grading, Attendance, Engagement and Accountability


For the 2023–2024 school year, MCPS will return to pre-pandemic grading policies and procedures outlined in MCPS Regulation IKA-RA, Grading and Reporting. 

Best practices include:

  • 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.
  • Removing the required 10% category for 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.


Reporting Attendance

Attendance policies are described in MCPS Regulation JEA-RA Student Attendance. This includes the taking, recording and reporting of daily attendance, tardies, excused absences and unexcused absences. For elementary schools, attendance will be taken each day at the beginning of the school day. For secondary schools, attendance is taken each period and calculated to compute a daily attendance code.

Attendance is taken by teachers and recorded in Synergy, the student information system. This data is visible to parents through ParentVUE, the parent portal. When a student is marked absent, an automated ConnectEd call alerts the parent/guardian that the student is absent. This allows for quick intervention and escalation if needed. Daily attendance reports are run at the local school level so that leaders can review attendance patterns and identify students who may need support in attending school regularly. During the first three weeks of school, central office staff will also monitor attendance daily to identify students who have not returned to school and to plan outreach processes to families. A number of student-level and aggregate reports at the school and district level are used to monitor attendance and provide quick
intervention as needed.

The Attendance Monitoring and Interventions Operations Guide provides an explanation of the process coordinated by Student and Family Support and Engagement and the Office of Special Education to provide specific outreach and implement targeted interventions for students with consistent attendance and engagement concerns.


Well-Being Teams

During the 2022-2023 school year, all schools evolved their Student Well-Being Teams to address students who had difficulty attending or engaging with school, students who experienced social-emotional difficulties, and students and families in need of school system and community resources. Key members of the Student Well-Being Teams are school administrators, school counselors, pupil personnel workers (PPWs), social workers, school psychologists, parent community coordinators (PCCs), and Emergent Multilingual Therapeutic Counselors (ETCs). Student Well-Being Teams analyze data, conduct root cause analyses, and implement targeted interventions.

MCPS has created a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) platform in Synergy. The MTSS platform will enable schools, and the district to monitor and evaluate the interventions implemented for students in the areas of social-emotional support, behavioral support, and attendance. Student Well-Being Team members in all 210 schools were trained on the MTSS platform in the fall of 2022. The platform had a soft rollout during the second semester of the
2022-2023 school year. Summer professional learning occurred in advance of a full MTSS platform rollout for the start of the 2023-2024 school year. An operations manual was distributed to schools to ensure consistent implementation of Student Well Being Teams across the district.

MCPS COVID-19 Self Reporting Form


Virtual Academy Attendance

Synchronous instruction is provided every day to students in the Virtual Academy. Students are expected to attend class every day. Attendance is taken daily in accordance with MCPS policy and in alignment with in-person instruction. Elementary teachers take attendance once a day in the morning, and secondary teachers take attendance at the beginning of each class period. Secondary period-by-period attendance is aggregated to compute a daily attendance record which is logged in Synergy, the student information system. The Virtual Academy has two well-being teams, one at the elementary level and one at the secondary level. These teams meet weekly and analyze attendance and engagement data on all students. They identify students who need additional outreach and develop processes and plans for supporting students. All PPWs support the students in the Virtual Academy. Because students are still enrolled in their home school, counseling staff at the virtual academy partners with counseling staff at the home school to provide coordinated support and services.


District Strategic Initiatives Implementation Team

MCPS received meaningful and ongoing stakeholder engagement in the reopening and recovery process, facilitated by the responsible offices. Stakeholder groups include parent and community organizations, employee associations, and school and cross-office staff. Stakeholder groups that provided input on the work in the Fall 2023 reopening plan include:

  • Curriculum Advisory Assembly and subject area committees
  • Accelerated and Enriched Instruction Feedback Council
  • Attendance Work Group
  • Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee
  • COVID-19 Operations Advisory Team

The MCPS Office of Communications is responsible for developing, administering and monitoring the effectiveness of communications and outreach for the Return to School Plan. The responsible individual for that office is Christopher Cram, Director of Communications. The office can be reached in the following ways:



Schools have a choice in implementing either a one-to-one model or a cart model for student technology. Most of our secondary schools have adopted the one-to-one model, in which students are assigned a Chromebook and case. They will be expected to carry it from school to home each day. This device will be used at school and home to complete instructional tasks.

In the cart model, sets of Chromebooks are kept in each classroom for use during the school day. Most of our elementary schools have adopted this model. Students who attend these schools who need access to a Chromebook at home can check one out at no cost and leave it at home for use during the school year. 


MCPS schools expect to be fully in person for the upcoming school year. For students with extenuating circumstances, applying to and attending the Montgomery Virtual Academy is an option, as well as applying for Interim Instructional Services. All students will use Chromebooks as their primary device for instruction. MCPS Google accounts are provided to all staff and students. In addition to online applications and curriculum, MCPS uses the Canvas Learning Management System for teachers to create online course repositories that can include course materials, assignments, discussion threads, quizzes and more. The MCPS network can support all student and staff devices, so instruction and assessment should be seamless.


If a shift to virtual instruction is necessary, all students will have access to a Chromebook at home. The same technology resources, including online subscriptions to Nearpod, PearDeck and Zoom, will be used to ensure a seamless transition to virtual instruction. Canvas will be used as the primary course repository.


During in-person instruction, the Canvas platform can be used by teachers to house course materials, including notes, presentations, videos, assignments, calendars, quizzes and more. These courses may or may not include all classroom work, as teachers are able to use many online and physical resources to prepare high-quality instructional tasks. The Canvas platform is similar to a course folder or binder and is one resource that teachers and students have available to them.

Special Education

In addition to the technology tools provided to MCPS students, students eligible for special education and related services are provided with low- and/or high-tech assistive technology devices and services as determined by the IEP team.


2022-2023 School Year Calendar Timeline

2022-2023 School Year
Calendar Timeline

Traditional School Calendar

Innovative School Calendar

Submit Feedback

Submit Feedback

Your comments and feedback are important and continue to help inform our planning.
Please visit to provide feedback on our reopening plan throughout the year.