Parents, staff weigh in on Prince George’s County school plans for fall

The Prince George’s County council has passed a budget that includes more money for public safety positions, as well as increased education funding. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

One of Maryland’s largest school systems says a survey shows that many parents, educators and staff — 46% of those who responded — want to continue at-home instruction when school starts again in the fall.

Another 42% want a hybrid of distance learning with in-school instruction, and just 12% want students back at school full-time, according to the Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Monica Goldson.

In a message to the community Wednesday, Goldson said, “Our team is still working through the logistics of a safe return to school this fall. This is no easy task.”

Goldson also advised that whatever decision comes from the school system, it will also take into account the latest health-related data and advice from Prince George’s County and state officials.

She has asked for continued feedback on the three options:

  • Option 1 — continue at-home instruction
  • Option 2 — combine at-home instruction with classes in schools
  • Option 3 — in-school instruction.

Concerns about how to bring students back into school buildings and maintain safe social distancing measures have school systems across Maryland trying to come up with plans for everything from busing kids to school to sanitizing and arranging classrooms.

Prince George’s County has had the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Maryland. As of Wednesday afternoon, data from the Maryland Department of Health showed Prince George’s County had 18,645 cases and 622 confirmed deaths.

Neighboring Montgomery County has had more confirmed deaths — a total of 700 — but fewer cases, with 14,803 reported.

Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith has said plans for resuming instruction will be presented in mid-July.

School systems in Anne Arundel, Howard and Baltimore counties are also looking at how to move ahead, with decisions on how to continue instruction coming in late July or early August.

Maryland’s state Department of Education requires that all school systems have their plans available to the public by Aug. 14.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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