Fall school plans for DC, Maryland, Virginia systems during coronavirus

Public school systems throughout the D.C. region are grappling with how to handle the new school year during the coronavirus pandemic.

Below are the plans for school systems by state and county in the WTOP listening area.

This story continues to be updated as more information becomes available.

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.


DC Public Schools

D.C. Public Schools announced it is backing away from plans to return elementary school students to classrooms starting Nov. 9 to readjust staffing plans. The plan faced strong pushback from teachers.


Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Elementary schools will welcome pre-K, first- and second-grade students, along with those enrolled in early childhood intervention programs, back to classrooms beginning Nov. 16 — a week later than the previous timeline.

County Executive Steuart Pittman said on Oct. 13 that, while he had supported the plan, now thinks that students should not go back to in-person learning until January. The School Board will make the final decision later in October.

Baltimore City Public Schools

All Baltimore City Public Schools opened the 2020-2021 school year virtually, and will begin a hybrid in-person option for young students, students with disabilities, English language learners and students who have had difficulty accessing online learning in November.

Baltimore County Public Schools

School officials in Baltimore County announced plans to bring small groups of students back for in-person learning beginning in November.

Calvert County Public Schools

Calvert County has plans for hybrid learning and all-virtual learning. The hybrid program splits students into A and B groups, with those groups returning to school for two days a week on alternating days — Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday.

Classes on the three other days will be virtual.

Charles County Public Schools

Update (10/13):The school board voted to allow some student groups to return to the classroom starting Nov. 9.

The Charles County school board voted to start the year with all-virtual distance learning beginning Aug. 31.

Under the plan, students would receive full-day online instruction four days a week, with Wednesdays designated as independent study days when students could also arrange one-on-one meetings with teachers and counselors.

Frederick County Public Schools

The all-virtual model students began the school year with will continue for at least the rest of the semester following a board of education vote on Oct. 7.

Howard County Public Schools

All public school students will take all of their classes online through at least through the end of January.

Montgomery County Public Schools

Montgomery County Public Schools started the school year with virtual-only learning for the first semester.

In an Aug. 4 update, MCPS said its plan includes a full day of instruction, more support for staff, students and families and recording lessons for students to access later.

The first semester is through Jan. 29, 2021; the school system in November will reassess the plan for the second semester, starting Feb. 1, 2021.

This means all fall and winter sports will be canceled, said Superintendent Jack Smith in a message to the community.

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Prince George’s County students started the new school year Aug. 31 with distance learning and that virtual learning will remain in place through January 2021. It will involve more live instruction blended with recorded instruction.

St. Mary’s County Public Schools

St. Mary’s County confirmed Aug. 12 that classes will be held entirely online for the start of the 2020/2021 school year. The school board will soon vote to finalize a plan for digital instruction.


Alexandria Public Schools

Alexandria City Public Schools announced July 31 it’s opening with virtual-only classes this fall.

Arlington Public Schools

The Arlington County school board voted in July to start school Sept. 8, instead of the original August plan. All students began with full-time distance learning.

Culpeper County Public Schools

The school board voted for a blended learning plan and posted the details online.

Fairfax County Public Schools

On Sept. 22, the school board voted to allow some students in the Virginia county to resume in-person learning in October.

City of Falls Church

A wave of students were welcomed back to the Henderson/Mason campus Oct 6; kindergarten and third-grade students will have the option to return to face-to-face instruction for half-days Tuesdays through Fridays, starting Tuesday, Nov. 10, Superintendent Peter Noonan wrote in an open letter; students in first, second, fourth and fifth grades will have that option starting Tuesday, Nov 17.

So far, secondary students are slated to return Jan. 21, Noonan said.

Fauquier County Public Schools

On Sept. 22, the school board voted for a return-to-school on Nov. 9., with the option of a hybrid or virtual plan, NBC Washington reported.

Loudoun County Public Schools

Kindergarten through second-grade students are returning to school for in-person learning two days a week starting Oct. 27.

Those students will continue to receive instruction in the distance-learning mode three days per week. Students whose families selected the hybrid model of instruction will participate in this program, for a total of approximately 6,900 students.

Third- through fifth-grade students are scheduled to return to classrooms Dec. 1.

Manassas City Public Schools

Manassas students started their year virtually on Aug. 31, following a vote by the school board.

Some special education students and level one and two English-as-second-language students will be allowed to return for some in-person instruction to begin the school year, but the remainder of students started the school year entirely through online learning.

The board agreed to revisit the decision and consider moving to some in-person instruction on a monthly basis.

Manassas Park City Schools

Manassas Park City schools had a distance-learning start Sept. 8. The school board “agreed to examine health data each month with a goal of returning to in-person learning when deemed safe to do so,” according to a statement.

Prince William County Public Schools

The school board in Prince William County voted to approve the superintendent’s return-to-learn model Oct. 22. Under the new model, only pre-K and kindergarten students will return to schools starting in December. Middle- and high-school students will return in January.

Rappahannock County Public Schools

Rappahannock County Public Schools posted its reopening plan online.

Stafford County Public Schools

The plan is for students in kindergarten through fifth grade to start a hybrid model, with some in-person instruction, Oct 26.

WTOP’s Dan Friedell, Matt Small, Jack Moore and Rick Massimo, as well as InsideNoVa and Maryland Matters, contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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