MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will have a digital class curriculum only until January 29, 2021, amid the continued spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to the district.
The district said that these plans may change if guidance from state and local health officials determine conditions in the county will allow students to return safely after the first semester.
The decision to go full digital learning means the district has canceled all fall and winter sports for student-athletes in the district.
County and state officials will reassess if a phased/blended model of in-person learning can happen in the second semester of the academic year (beginning Feb. 1, 2021), according to MCPS.
"We continue to explore creative ways to support students receiving special services and families with significant challenges in accessing curriculum through a virtual model," added MCPS in its statement. "We also know that this decision to extend virtual instruction will significantly impact the work schedules of many parents in our county. We are seeking the ability to allow buildings to remain open in a limited capacity for essential purposes, including meal service; to support access to technology and other materials; and for use by some child care providers."
In a media briefing on Wednesday, Superintendent Dr. Jack R. Smith discussed what the changes will mean going forward.
"No one has ever done this before," Smith said. "There are no good options."
Officials with the school district said they are still working to figure out how to best help students who rely on athletic programs and extracurricular activities that have been canceled.
"We understand that this is devastating," Smith said.
Officials also said they have learned a lot about digital learning since the pandemic forced schools to close suddenly, stating that the online learning in the fall will not look like previous online learning, which was "a response to an emergency situation."
To see more of the Montgomery County Public Schools 2020-2021 academic year plan amid the coronavirus pandemic, click here.