Students in Maryland’s Prince George’s County Public Schools will be able to return to the classroom this spring for in-person learning.
Schools CEO Monica Goldson said Wednesday that families will be sent a survey to select to either continue virtual learning for the remainder of the school year or begin hybrid instruction two days a week in April. Families have until Feb. 28 to complete the survey.
Under the hybrid learning model, students will be divided into two groups for in-person learning two days a week. The other three days of the school week will be virtual.
“I believe that our plan to implement hybrid learning, where students have two days of in-person learning and three days remotely, will help to meet the needs of many of our students, and will ensure that we continue to prioritize health, safety, equity and excellence,” Goldson said in a video announcement.
School staff will begin returning to schools in March.
“It has been hard for people to get vaccines, and people have been scrambling. So this gives us time to get the vaccines. It gives us the time to look at the reopening plans in the building to make sure that people are safe,” said Prince George’s County Educators’ Association President Theresa Mitchell Dudley, who is thankful the school district is waiting until April to reopen.
In-person class sizes will differ by classroom, and she said teachers need the few weeks they are getting in the schools before students arrive to work out logistical challenges that will present themselves in the new model of teaching children virtually and in-person simultaneously.
“How do you collect homework assignments? How do you make sure that the children who are still learning virtually can still see you? So there’s a lot of what-ifs that are going to be involved in this, and we need to give people time to prepare,” Dudley said.
The first group of students for Phase One — all special education students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and for students in pre-K through sixth grade, and 12th grade — would be welcomed back April 8 for hybrid learning.
Then, on April 15, Phase Two starts for all remaining seventh- through 11th-graders.
“Our spring break will proceed as scheduled from March 29 through April 5. The last day of school for students will be June 15. And the last day for teachers will be June 16,” Goldson said.
She added that for students involved in athletic activities, coaches can start in-person after-school conditioning and outdoor workouts on March 10. Spring sports season practice begins April 6.
“These are not easy decisions, ensuring that every staff who wanted the vaccination was key, making sure that our buildings are ready and prepared to receive staff and students was important,” Goldson said.
“And I constantly monitored our COVID-19 numbers to ensure that there’s a continual decline in cases in our community. All those factors helped to arrive at the decision that we’re at today. As a school system, we have shown our restraint and making sure that we don’t rush to reopen, but it is now time that we serve our community and our students by doing what’s right and safe in April.”
Goldson urged people to visit the PGCPS website to review the reopening plan.
See Goldson’s announcement below.
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