MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — On Jan. 20 16 Montgomery County schools will be moving to virtual learning for 10 calendar days. Students will return to in-person learning on Jan. 31.

The following schools will be in virtual learning;

  • Beall Elementary School
  • Briggs Chaney Middle School
  • Brookhaven Elementary School
  • Clopper Mill Elementary School
  • Captain James E. Daly Elementary School
  • Gaithersburg Elementary School
  • Glenallan Elementary School
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School
  • Lakelands Park Middle School
  • Neelsville Middle School
  • Paint Branch High School
  • RICA – John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents
  • Sargent Shriver Elementary School
  • Twinbrook Elementary School
  • Watkins Mill Elementary School
  • Whetstone Elementary School

The decision to suspend in-person education is based on a number of crucial variables, which are weighed against each school’s unique characteristics, which include everything from specific programs to operational readiness. The individual school community will get a letter informing them of the change as well as some of the details that went into the decision.

The key factors used in this decision include: 

  • Student attendance rate (three-day average)
  • Staff absences (three-day average)
  • Number of bus routes unable to provide service in both morning and afternoon (three-day average)
  • Unfilled substitute requests (three-day average)
  • COVID-19 cases among students and staff in the past 10 days
  • Feedback from a multistakeholder group from the school community

To prepare for this change in operations, teachers will have one day of preparation where students will participate in remote asynchronous learning. Full virtual, teacher-led instruction will then take place. Families will receive information, guidance and resources for what to expect in virtual learning. Childcare programs may continue as scheduled.

Confusion remains as families wait for Montgomery County Public Schools to roll out a plan for students as COVID-19 cases continue to spread.

Officials are coming up with new guidelines, but not before a public hearing with parents, teachers, and students, the superintendent confirmed during a briefing this morning. Going virtual would be decided on a number of things to include bus driver and teacher shortages. The superintendent also asked that MCPS be relieved of having to do contact tracing in the schools.

She requested that the Department of Health and Human Services take over that responsibility. “We are examining the key area of staff absences, student absences, unfilled substitute teacher positions, unserved bus routes, and COVID-19 cases among students and staff,” Interm Superintendent, Dr. Monifa McKnight said.

Dr. Mcknight continues to ask for patience from the school community, saying that quote, “We’re all first-timers in this.”