Montgomery County Public Schools will continue distance learning through the end of January 2021

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Montgomery County Public Schools will continue with online-only learning this fall until at least Jan. 29, 2021, the superintendent confirmed on Tuesday.

All fall and winter sports will also be canceled. The decision comes after guidance from the county’s health officer, Dr. Travis Gayles. He said, “based upon the current state of surveillance and epidemiological data, I would not recommend in-person instruction for students inside school  buildings at this time.”

Superintendent of Schools Jack R. Smith said the school board and county officials will decide sometime after Nov. 9, 2020 if students can follow a “phased blended model” in the second semester, which starts Feb. 1, 2021.

We continue to explore creative ways to support students receiving special services and families with significant challenges in accessing curriculum through a virtual model. We also know that this decision to extend virtual instruction will significantly impact the work schedules of many parents in our county. We are seeking the ability to allow buildings to remain open in a limited capacity for essential purposes, including meal service; to support access to technology and other materials; and for use by some child care providers.

Superintendent Smith on July 21, 2020

Last week, Governor Larry Hogan said he will be joined by the State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon to discuss statewide school guidance as we near back-to-school season. Smith said following the state’s anticipated announcement, Montgomery County will adjust as needed.

In the meantime, school “staff is being provided additional professional development to enhance their instructional abilities in a virtual model,” Smith said, and “we have put systems in place to ensure all students have access to digital devices and access to the internet when they are away from school buildings.”

The Montgomery County Board of Education will receive an updated back-to-school learning plan on August 6 to vote on, Smith added.

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