Prince George’s Co. school official answers student questions on return to in-person learning

Some Prince George’s County students are returning to classrooms Thursday for the first time in over a year since the pandemic forced learning to move online.

Ahead of their return, the Maryland school system answered questions from students and parents during a telephone town hall.

One hot topic from parents regarded how coronavirus testing would be carried out once students are back in buildings.

PGCPS CEO Monica Goldson said it will be conducted at schools to facilitate contact tracing.

“If they have any type of COVID-type symptoms, they will be referred to the school nurse,” Goldson said. “It will allow us to notify those students who are in the classroom with your child if they test positive.”

All special education students, as well as students in pre-K through sixth grade and high school seniors, are returning to in-person hybrid learning two days per week.

The burning question on seniors’ minds was about graduation.

“I know all of you have wanted all year just to walk across that stage, and so yes, you’ll have a graduation experience,” Goldson said.

A big worry from students and parents was about getting extra academic help as hybrid learning starts, because online learning has been difficult for some.

“We also realize that there are students who still needed that one-on-one support, and so we offer one-on-one online tutoring for any student,” Goldson said.

That the service is offered through the Maryland Public Library System, and is accessible on the PGCPS website. About 2,000 students utilize one-on-one tutoring each month.

Another popular question was about school lunch plans. Goldson said it will be done in small groups and might be shorter than some students are accustomed to during an average school year.

“You will be able to have a lunch (but) it won’t be the length that you envisioned when you’re at the table with your friends,” Goldson said. “We are going to adhere to the guidelines to ensure that is done safely.”

There will be recess, too, but Goldson said it will be socially distant and without the use of shared playground equipment.

Find more information about PGCPS’ return to in-person learning on the school system’s website.

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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