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Nearly 20,000 Montgomery County public school students return for in-person learning Monday

Grades K-3 are among the next wave of students returning for in-person learning.

WASHINGTON — On Monday, March 15 nearly 20,000 Montgomery County Public School students will return to the classroom for in-person learning. Many students and staff will be returning to the brick-and-mortar school for the first time since March 2020.

Students grades K-3 are part of the second group of students phasing to in-person learning. Special education programs, specific career and technical education students, alternative education programs, CREA, and METS will also be returning on March 15.

Tyeshia Delemos has two sons preparing to step back into a classroom setting Monday. One will be starting kindergarten for the first time in-person and another will be attending PEP.

“It’s been tough for my kindergartner because he's a social butterfly and just basically being confined in the room during school is a huge nightmare,” Delemos said. “And then my four-year-old who's autistic, trying to get him to sit at a computer is the worst. So I’m so happy he can get the hands-on school that he needs.”

She said she’s excited for them to get back inside the school and said she doesn’t have any COVID-19 concerns.

“I don't have any concerns. I know that teachers are going to do their best to keep the kids safe,” Delemos said. “It's all we can ask for them to try their best. And hopefully, they will make it a fun experience for the kids.”

As for teachers preparing for their return, there have been concerns expressed about safety. One special education teacher told WUSA9 she quit over her fears of contracting the virus.

RELATED: Montgomery County school teacher quitting over COVID-19 fears

As of this week, the district reports more than 25,000 MCPS staff names have been submitted to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 12,000 of those vaccinations have been completed.

Credit: WUSA9

The next group of students, which includes Pre-K, grades 4,5,6, and 12 are set to return to in-person learning on April 6.

Credit: WUSA9

The school board recently announced it is considering options to speed up the timeline for the return of student groups. If the March 15 return of students is successful MCPS said it is proposing groups 2.1 and 2.2 combine and start a phased-in return by April 19.  That would mean grades 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 would begin a phased-in approach on April 19. The proposal will be discussed on March 23. 

RELATED: MCPS warns about Spring Break travel

When students return to the classroom, officials urge that it will look and feel much different from what they previously experienced in school buildings. Face coverings, physical distancing and frequent hand-washing will be required to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

During a previous Board meeting, staff shared an outline of what parents, students and staff can expect for in-person and virtual learning. In addition to direct instruction, students will experience the following:

  • Academic interventions or small group instruction in English Language Arts/Math
  • Reteaching and review of concepts
  • Structured class discussions or peer-to-peer collaborative learning opportunities
  • Opportunities to participate in recess, lunch and other activities 
  • Social-emotional learning or well-being activities (i.e., classroom community building

COVID-19 tests will be provided to students and staff on a weekly basis. Children can opt-out of being tested.

The district has also provided tips to get ready for in-person learning. 

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