Public school students in Montgomery County, Maryland, could return to classrooms on Feb. 1 if health metrics meet key benchmarks.
The Montgomery County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to delay the start of in-person learning until the start of the second semester.
For students to return to a physical school building, the 14-day test positivity rate must be no higher than 5%, and the case rate must be below 15 cases per 100,000 residents. Superintendent Jack Smith said the current framework would “accelerate” the return of more students back into a school building.
.@mocoboe today voted to adopt a revised health metrics framework to allow for the return of a greater number of students to in-person experiences when the new case rate decreases to 15 cases per 100,000 resident. pic.twitter.com/fFmZIXxcNy
— MCPS (@MCPS) December 15, 2020
While board member Patricia O’Neill joined the unanimous vote, she said the county is on an upward trajectory in COVID-19 cases from the Thanksgiving holiday.
“It is highly unlikely we are going to suddenly turn that corner between now and January 12th,” O’Neill said.
The board will meet again Jan. 12 to decide if a phased return would be possible, based on the status of the pandemic at that date.
If metrics are met, the first set of students who would be allowed to return are in special education, career and technical education, and kindergarten through third grades.
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WTOP’s Megan Cloherty contributed to this report.