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'The right move' | Teachers, parents applaud Prince George's schools reopening plan

PGCPS CEO Dr. Monica Goldson said the school district would conduct virtual learning through at least January 29, 2021.

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Many parents and faculty said they are happy with the way Prince George's County Public Schools is handling its reopening plan for the fall.

On Wednesday, PGCPS CEO Dr. Monica Goldson announced her school system would conduct online, distance learning through at least January 29, 2021.

Goldson addressed more than 13,000 community members during a telephone town hall Wednesday evening. She said part of the reason the school system decided to stay virtual through January was to avoid complications that could arise around Thanksgiving and winter breaks.

RELATED: Prince George's County Public Schools will continue distance learning into 2020-21 school year

"Families tend to travel around a lot more people than they typically do," Goldson said. "The rate of exposure would have been increased."

Prince George's County parent Bridget Myers' son will enter PGCPS as a kindergartner in the fall.

Myers, who is also an educator herself, said she still has questions about how things will work for children her son's age. However, she added she is happy with how the county school system has handled things so far.

"I just feel like safety is the number one priority," Myers said. "So, I am pleased that Prince George's County Schools has decided to go virtual."

Some Prince George's County teachers are happy with the school district's plans too.

Jason Flanagan, a PGCPS high school teacher, had to be intubated for 16 days this spring as he battled the coronavirus. He agreed that PGCPS made the right move.

RELATED: Teacher who spent 16 days intubated is now home recovering from coronavirus

"I had a feeling that our school district would make the right move like Dr. Golson did today," Flanagan said. "But, you know, just seeing the national discussion, the national debate, I was concerned that they were going to try to put everybody back into crowded buildings, crowded classrooms."

He added he cannot wait to teach again, even if it will be virtually.

On Thursday, Prince George's County Educators Association responded to the county's reopening plans in a release sent from board officials: 

"Our priority is to ensure the safety of our students, community, and educators. As educators, we dedicate our lives to our students and would never want to put their lives at risk, jeopardize our personal health, or those of their families. Our members have been very clear that they are most comfortable continuing to use and develop distance learning strategies to ensure that our students have the ability to learn and stay safe and Dr. Monica Goldson demonstrated that the CEO is listening to the concerns and is also committed to keeping students and educators healthy. We believe that the draft plan for reopening Prince George’s County Schools with Distance Learning that was proposed yesterday is a major step to reopening the schools we want to see.
With that, we must have our leadership working to ensure that every student and educator in the county that is in need of access to the internet has it and that companies like Comcast and Verizon do their part. It is a matter of equity.” 

RELATED: Virginia groups want funding for school resource officers reallocated

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