Updates on DC, Md. and Va. schools’ learning plans, free meals for students and graduations during coronavirus closures

Closed lockers in a school hallway(Getty Images/iStockphoto/Drew Bloksberg)

With D.C., Maryland and Virginia schools closing for the rest of the school year due to the coronavirus outbreak, many are providing students with lessons to keep their skills sharp as well as free meals to keep them fed.


D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Friday, April 17, that public school buildings and public charter schools will stay closed for the rest of the school year, and students will continue virtual classes through May 29.

Public schools in D.C. have prepared resources for every level from prekindergarten through 8th grade and for each graduation required course for grades 9 through 12. Free meals will be available to students every weekday during the closure from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at dozens of sites throughout the District.


State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced May 6 schools will remain closed through the end of the academic school year.

Anne Arundel County Public Schools announced on May 6 fourth-quarter grades for students who are distance learning will either be “satisfactory” or “no grade.” A “satisfactory” grade will be one letter better than what the student earned in the third quarter (for instance, a C in the third quarter would lead to a B in the fourth). However, “no grade” will simply be the same letter grade the student earned in the third quarter.

Children can get three free meals a day at 52 sites in the county. The kids don’t have to be eligible for free or reduced-price meals, the school system said, but adults aren’t allowed to pick the food up for them.

The meals are available at 31 schools in the county and 21 mobile meal sites. To check out where they are, click here.

Calvert County Public Schools and the Calvert County Department of Child Nutrition began distribution of free lunches at four locations: the Chesapeake Ranch Estates area, the White Sands area, the Prince Frederick area and the Owings area. Meals for any children aged 4-18 can be picked up twice a week from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. — once on Monday for two days worth of meals, and once on Wednesday for three days worth of meals

Charles County Public Schools said that free, temporary internet access would be provided at four school locations — Piccowaxen Middle School, Matthew Henson Middle School, T.C. Martin Elementary School and Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School.

Those accessing the internet at the locations can park in the front lot and connect to the WiFi, while remaining in their car to maintain social distancing.

The hotspots will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Jason Stoddard, CCPS director of school safety and security, said in a statement. He recommends not streaming videos using the free internet. Video surveillance is in place at the parking lots, and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office will regularly make rounds.

Charles County Public Schools is offering free, cold bagged lunches for any child ages 18 and younger.

Frederick County Public Schools has a web page dedicated to how it is handling the coronavirus situation.

Starting Monday, May 11, FCPS will add meals-to-go service at the Centerville Elementary parking lot. Other school locations for meals are Ballenger Creek Elementary School, Crestwood Middle School, Frederick High School, Hillcrest Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Monocacy Elementary School, North Frederick Elementary School and Waverley Elementary School.

The school system is also offering outdoor Wi-Fi service at 27 school parking lots. Connections are only available to FCPS students and staff who have valid credentials to access the network. For more information, click here.

Howard County Public Schools set forth a continuity of learning plan for students with information on phases of learning by grade.

The Howard County Public School System will provide free “Grab-N-Go” meals to anyone ages 18 and under during the school closures on weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. through April 24. 

Montgomery County Public Schools plan to offer details about distance learning, graduation ceremonies, and proms, soon.

The school system continues to operate 20 sites to provide “Grab-N-Go” meals for students. Free meals are provided weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for all students under 18 years old. 

Prince George’s County Schools announced the Class of 2020 will be honored with a star-studded, system-wide eGraduation Celebration on Saturday, May 30, featuring Oxon Hill-native and Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson as commencement speaker. The graduation, which will also feature R&B singer Kenny Lattimore, radio host/comedian Joe Clair, NFL cornerback Joe Haden, and local news anchor Taylor Thomas, will be televised locally that evening and the following day at noon.

Distance learning will be in place through June 16 and high school seniors will be done on Friday, May 15.

The county’s program for meals on the go will also continue. About 500,000 of those meals have been served so far during the pandemic.

St. Mary’s County Public Schools has a detailed online learning program with instructional resources by grade. A drive-up lunch service will be provided for students aged 18 and under. 


Alexandria City Public Schools has details on online resources and learning programs for students on its website. ACPS-TV will be running educational content from 9 a.m. to noon each day.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, ACPS is providing two days worth of breakfast and lunch meals for free pick up at the following locations from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.:

William Ramsay Elementary School, Francis C. Hammond Middle School, Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology, Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School and T.C. Williams High School.

The school system is also offering grab-and-go breakfast and lunches at the following locations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at various times:

Mason Apartments at South Reynolds Street (10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.); Brent Place Apartments (11:20 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.); Ruby Tucker Family Center (10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.); Community Lodgings (10:45 – 11:15 a.m.) and Old Towne West Apartments — parking lot (11:20 – 11:50 a.m.).

The start date for kindergarten registration is now a month later for the schools system as well.

On May 15, the online application process will available at ACPS’ website to be completed. Paper forms will be available at food distribution locations. Paper forms can also be printed from the school system’s website.

ACPS currently plans to have in-person verification of the required registration documents will start at schools. Verification is done by appointment only. This date is subject to change depending on the state’s stay-at-home order.

Arlington County Public Schools sent instructional materials out for early childhood and elementary school students. Those in grades 6 – 12 will be able to access assignments using Canvas. The assignments will not be graded but assessments may be given to help teachers make additional plans.

The school system changed its free “grab-and-go” breakfasts and lunches program to three days per week, rather than five days per week. However, families will no longer need to come to the meal sites daily.

Fairfax County Public Schools, after issues with its virtual classes, still has content available on the school system’s cable Channel 21.

For food resources, check here

Falls Church City Public Schools remain online.

Fredericksburg City Public Schools put together an online learning resources packet for students as schools are closed through the academic year in June.

Loudoun County Public Schools has learning resources online for students to continue learning through the school closures. There will be free breakfast and lunch provided at each public school. 

Manassas City Public Schools has details online on resources for students to learn at home after the announcement that schools are closed through the rest of the school year in June.

Prince William County Public Schools are planning to honor high school graduates in the class of 2020 in August. Most high school students and their families would be invited to attend a ceremony at their school during the first week of August, with the ceremony held at each school’s stadium, gym, or auditorium — but only if state and local health regulations allow for such gatherings. Any event will follow social distance requirements.

Final details are still being worked out for each school.

Prince William County Public Schools provide updates on the school system’s website.

Spotsylvania County Public Schools will hold graduation for high school seniors but nobody will be in the audience. According to Scott Baker, superintendent of schools for the county, ceremonies for the 1,700 graduates of Courtland, Chancellor, Massaponax, Riverbend and Spotsylvania high schools “will be held in a controlled setting in which social distancing and other recommended safety measures are practiced.” Spotsylvania graduations will be held the weeks of May 18-29.

Stafford County Public Schools has a detailed online learning page with home learning resources for students. Information on meals for students during the coronavirus closure is posted on the school system’s coronavirus page.

More Coronavirus News

WTOP’s John Domen, Rob Woodfork and Michelle Basch contributed to this report.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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