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Prince George’s County Public Schools prepares for return to in-person learning

Chief Executive Officer Monica Goldson announced the measures in a Wednesday letter to the community.

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — Prince George’s County Public Schools will resume in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 18 and the district is taking precautions early to ensure the community’s health and safety.

Chief Executive Officer Monica Goldson announced the measures in a Wednesday letter, detailing plans to distribute tests and KN95 masks to students and staff and conduct random testing on students. The school system will also no longer allow spectators at athletic events through the end of January. Starting Tuesday, Feb. 1, attendance at athletic events will be limited to 25% of building capacity. 

Goldson said that a kit containing two tests will be available for each child enrolled in school and that the distribution will take place at schools and offices. She also stated that students will be required to test every week in order to return to school the following week. 

RELATED: DC schools staff, pre-K and kindergarten students must take weekly COVID-19 rapid tests starting Friday

Tests are expected to be taken on Sundays along with results uploaded from Jan. 23 through Feb. 27. Goldson said that the link for uploading those results will be provided in the coming days and that home test kits will be distributed twice a week until the end of February.

The school system CEO went on to share that 20% of students will now be randomly tested in weekly pools and that staff testing was also expanded during virtual learning. All employees of PGCPS, regardless of vaccination status, were able to get free COVID testing while students were not in classrooms.

RELATED: Montgomery County students get test kits to try and keep schools open amid case surge

The temporary K-6 virtual learning program is now set to end on Friday, Jan. 28. Goldson explained that the program was always designed to be a temporary option in the absence of a vaccine for children ages 5-11. 

“PGCPS does not have permission from the Maryland State Department of Education to go beyond the timeframe established at the beginning of the school,” she said of the change.“I want to express my appreciation to all of you for your understanding and flexibility over these last few weeks. Our temporary shift to virtual learning system-wide was unprecedented among large school districts, but as we can see now, it was a necessary precaution that helped to slow the spread of COVID-19 within our schools,” Goldson said in her letter, while also stating that she understands families may have concerns about the return to classrooms due to the pandemic. We will continue to collaborate with the local and state health departments to assess data and make the best decisions.”

Goldson also specified that weekly testing of unvaccinated staff and athletes will continue, as well as that the school system is still experiencing shortages of bus drivers which will continue to cause delays. She said that their transportation team is currently working overtime to recruit and hire qualified, full-time drivers. 

Click here to view the current PGCPS guidelines for quarantining.

Goldson will also host a "Tele-Town Hall" with Prince George’s County Health Officer Dr. Ernest Carter on Wednesday evening to discuss the return to in-person learning and related health and safety issues. 

In her letter, Goldson confirmed that parents and guardians will receive a phone call from the school system at 5:30 p.m. 

If you do not receive a call, you can dial 844-734-8766. The Spanish interpretation line is 508-924-5155.

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