PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — After what community leaders called a stark rise in COVID-19 cases, the CEO of Prince George's County Public Schools, Dr. Monica Goldson, announced to county families that schools will all move to virtual learning starting Monday, Dec. 20.
On Wednesday, Goldson announced a high of 155 cases reported in a single day compared to a two-day total last week of fewer than 100 cases.
The virtual learning will go through Thursday, Dec. 23, and Winter Break will move forward as scheduled, she said. Virtual learning will then continue into January until in-person learning is set to resume on Jan. 18 following the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, while students in the K-6 Virtual Learning Program will return to classrooms Monday, Jan. 31.
“Over the past few days, I have remained in daily contact with the Prince George’s County Health Department regarding appropriate steps for maintaining safe environments across more than 200 school communities,” Goldson stated in her letter to the community.
“Educators, administrators and support staff must be able to deliver in-person instruction and other activities in conditions that prioritize their own health, as well as the wellbeing of the school community. The increased positivity rates have significantly challenged the ability to do so, causing anxiety among many school communities and disruption to the school day.”
News that schools would revert to virtual learning didn't come as a surprise to some PGCPS parents, but those parents said they hope it doesn't get extended.
“It’s just kind of hard for the kids," Yolanda Banks, whose son attends CMIT Academy said. "I know my son had a hard time, he excelled academically, but not being around his friends made it hard for him; hopefully it won’t go back to how it was last year — it won’t last a long time. But whatever we need to do to bring the numbers down, I’m fine with it.”
Goldson said parents who need to pick up instructional items for students can do so on Monday, Dec. 20. Individual schools will provide more information about pickup times.
Meal distributions will also occur on that Monday, as well as on Wednesday, Dec. 22 between 10 a.m. and noon. Goldson added that Information about meal distribution in January is coming.
The announcement comes after three school buildings in Prince George's County temporarily closed Wednesday while officials worked to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the district.