Prince George’s Co. schools CEO lays out return-to-school plan

On the first day back to school for all Prince George’s County, Maryland, teachers, they are preparing for students to return in phases next month. The school system’s CEO is laying out for county leaders what the return of students will look like.

When elementary, special education and high school senior students begin returning to Prince George’s County schools April 8, followed by grades 7-11 on April 15, CEO Dr. Monica Goldson told the county council they’ll do so in a hybrid model.

“We are offering the hybrid model for students and families that literally says ‘If your last name begins with A through J, you report to school on Monday/Tuesday. And then Wednesday through Friday, you are on virtual learning. And if your last name is K through Z, you report to school on Thursday/Friday and your virtual learning experience is Monday/Wednesday,'” she told the city council Thursday.

While each school is expecting 32% of its students to return to in-person learning on average, Goldson said this model will limit the number of students in classrooms to allow distancing in schools.

The county outlined its starting dates that departed from the deadline the state board of education set for all students to return to a form of in-person learning by March 1. Goldson said she spoke with the state superintendent about the county’s back-to-school plan.

When the students return to schools, each building will have a COVID-19 compliance committee to ensure it is adhering to safety guidelines. Each school will also have what’s called a “care room” where students and staff who are exposed to coronavirus or exhibit symptoms can go for isolation and to rest.

“We have implemented a frontline education mobile app that allows our staff daily to answer very strategic questions around whether they’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, what their temperature is, and if they’ve been around others who’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or they received a recent positive test around COVID,” Goldson said.

HVAC operations have increased, and the schools will begin running the air conditioning systems hours before the students arrive to get air circulating, she said.

“In addition, we’ve purchased 3,000 air filter machines on Alpha air filtration machines that will be strategically placed in those classes whether it’s on a Windows, and in our ECC centers early childhood centers, where we may have some of our more fragile students in our environment.

We have already installed barriers at our point of sale locations in our cafeterias and that point of sale is where our students who are getting their lunches will punch in, when we were in normal situations, their PIN number,” she said.

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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.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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