Reopening 2020

reopening 2020

The page will be used to provide updates as MCPS staff, students, parents, and teachers begin move toward re-opening schools on September 8, 2020. 

approved reopening plan

MCPS Instructional Phases

VDOE Recover, Redesign, Restart 2020 Guidelines

This page was last updated on September 23, 2020.


September 23, 2020
Message to Families

MCPS will move back to Phase III, Level 2 instruction on Monday, September 28. This returns all students back to the instructional status that they had on Friday, September 11. Our health and safety plans are effective, and our schools are ready to have students. 

On Tuesday afternoon, a scheduled meeting was held between MCPS administration and members of the New River Public Health Task Force. In attendance at the meeting were Chief Anthony Wilson (Blacksburg Police Chief) and Dr. Noelle Bissell (Director, New River Health District), Dr. Mark Miear (MCPS Superintendent), Gunin Kiran (Board Chair), Marti Graham (Vice Chair), Annie Whitaker (Deputy Superintendent), Tommy Kranz (Assistant Superintendent), Jason Garretson (Director of Student Services and Safety), and Brenda Drake (Director of Communication and Community Relations). 

The group reviewed local health data that showed a decrease in positive test cases in Montgomery County and a decrease in the 7-day average for positive cases (71 last week, now 36).

Chief Wilson and Dr. Bissell stated that there are no performance indicators that should keep MCPS from reopening.

Dr. Miear recommended to the School Board that MCPS resume Phase III, Level 2 operation. This will return us back to the instructional status that we had on Friday, September 11. 

Five of the seven school board members stated agreement with moving back to Phase III, Level 2 operation on Monday, September 28 (Bond, Franklin, Graham, Kiran, Partin). One board member stated a desire to stay in the current instructional phase (Cherbaka). One board member was unavailable (Kass).

With the majority of the school board willing to move forward, MCPS will move back to half-day in-person instruction on 4 days each week (Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri) for all in-person students beginning Monday, September 28. Remote and virtual students will keep their current schedule.




September 12, 2020
Message to Families

Good afternoon. Today’s update provides more information about our services and offerings over the next two weeks as we move to Phase II, Level 2 of instruction. First, we want to provide additional details surrounding the events that led to this change.

On Thursday afternoon, Task Force members Chief Anthony Wilson (Blacksburg Police Chief) and Dr. Noelle Bissell (Director, New River Health District) contacted Dr. Miear (MCPS Superintendent). This was a conference call attended by Dr. Miear, Gunin Kiran (Board Chair), Marti Graham (Vice Chair), Annie Whitaker (Deputy Superintendent), Tommy Kranz (Assistant Superintendent), Jason Garretson (Director of Student Services and Safety), and Brenda Drake (Director of Communication and Community Relations). Chief Wilson and Dr. Bissell recommended that MCPS scale back the number of students attending school due to a significant spike in positive COVID cases that seems to be inevitable in the coming days. Dr. Miear discussed the different instructional levels within the MCPS reopening plan, and all parties agreed that Phase II, Level 2 would be appropriate for the next two weeks. Dr. Miear then reached out to the school board via telephone and email. He shared that the Task Force was recommending a reduced level of services and provided the board members with a recommended level of instruction (Phase II, Level 2). Six of the seven school board members stated agreement with moving to this phase for two weeks starting Monday, September 14 (Kiran, Graham, Bond, Cherbaka, Kass, Partin). One board member stated a desire to move the district to all-remote using one of the levels within Phase 1 (Franklin). With the majority of the school board willing to move forward, MCPS implemented Phase II, Level 2 instruction beginning Monday, September 14. Everyone involved followed the processes put into place to adjust the instructional plan to respond to community health events.

We understand that this change has not been easy for families or staff members. We hope that providing you advance notice of this change has helped you and your family prepare for having students at home for the next two weeks. Additional information can be found below:

Students who are attending school online will have the same schedule as they currently have. The difference is that the classes will be conducted online instead of in-person.

Students with IEPs may attend school in person on their regular schedule. Students who have 504 plans should contact the school to schedule a meeting.

Technology Resources are available online to help parents and students

The Technology Help Line is 540-381-6165, press 1 for chromebook help.

Free meals will be available for pickup at the high schools between 10:30 and 12:30 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. To help with meal preparation, please email your cafeteria manager to let them know how many meals you will pick up. Students will receive 1 breakfast and 1 lunch on Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Students will receive 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches on Tuesdays because the cafeterias are closed on Wednesdays. When you arrive at the school to pick up your meal, you should call the school to arrange for a no-contact pickup.

Auburn High - pbower@mcps.org
Blacksburg High - slinkous@mcps.org
Christiansburg High - mweaver@mcps.org
Eastern Montgomery High - gbasham@mcps.org

Our teachers will make the next two weeks of online learning opportunities excellent for our students. We know that it will not be perfect, but our technology team and our teachers are standing by to do everything they can to support our students and our teachers through this process.
 

September 10, 2020
Message to Families

We are writing today with a change to the MCPS schedule. Starting on Monday, September 14, students in grades 4-12 will participate in online instruction. The following students will be able to attend school in person on their current schedule: 

  • students with an IEP (K-12),

  • students who are English Language Learners (K-12),

  • students without access to the internet (K-12),

  • students of employees (K-12), and 

  • all students in grades PK-3 as they are currently scheduled.

Please note: students in grades 4-12 will receive their instruction remotely on their current schedule. In our Reopening Plan, the new instructional phase is Phase 2, Level II. The Reopening Plan was designed to be flexible so that we could respond to school and community needs. 

We are making this change due to the projected increase in positive COVID-19 cases in our area. There are no positive cases in our schools. We know that the volume of cases in our community may be significant in the coming days. In consultation with the health department and the public health task force, we believe that this change is in the best interest of our students and the community.  The projection from VDH is that new positive COVID cases will start to decrease before Monday, September 21. If we follow this trend, we should have several days of decreasing positive tests before September 28. We will track the data closely, and if we need to extend this phase beyond September 28, we will let families know as soon as possible.  We hope to return to the current instructional schedule (Phase 3, Level II) for all students on Monday, September 28.

We are notifying you today so that students can bring home their chromebooks and any other necessary supplies tomorrow. Other items to keep in mind for the next two weeks: 

  • MCPS childcare centers will stay open. 

  • Our buses will continue to run their current schedules to pick up the students who are eligible to be in schools. 

  • Parents can contact the school to schedule medication pickup. 

  • No extracurricular activities will be held, including athletics. 

  • Meal pickups will be available at the high schools (more info to follow). 

We know that this type of change can be upsetting for students and families. We want to keep our students and staff members safe while also being responsible members of our community. Our teachers will do their best to bring some sense of normalcy to the online classroom environment. 

You can expect follow-up information from MCPS this weekend to provide you with more details. Feel free to respond to this email with any questions that you might have so we can address them in our next communication. 

Thank you.  




August 28, 2020
Message to Families

We are providing several updates about the start of school today. September 8 is not far away. 


Returning Student Registration

All families should complete returning student registration for students who are returning to MCPS this year. Registration should be completed by all families with students returning to MCPS this year - in person, remote, and virtual students.


We have made the information update easier than ever. You never leave the Parent Portal site! Visit www.mcps.org/register to complete registration for your students now.


School Supply Lists

School supply lists for students who will attend school in person can be found on teacherlists.com.


Breakfast & Lunch Information

All students will have the opportunity to receive a meal at school and a meal to take home when they attend in-person during the 2020-2021 school year. Menus are now online - Wednesday meals will be available as a grab-n-go option on Tuesdays.


Remote and virtual students will be able to schedule a time to pick up meals.


The federal program that allowed for free meals for all students ends on August 31. Students will need to pay at their normal meal rate during the school year. You can apply for free/reduced meals through the online application.


2020-2021 Calendar

The 2020-2021 School Calendar is available online and will be mailed to all families.

 

You can add the calendar to your Google Calendar by clicking the +Google button on our calendar site.


Building Entry

Entry to buildings will be limited when school begins. Parents will not be allowed to enter the school building unless they have an appointment. Parents who need to drop off items during the school day will be met at the door by school staff to get the item. First day of school photos should be taken outside of the school building. Parents will not be able to walk their child to class. 


Safety and Wellness

All in-person students will wear a face covering during the school day, except when eating. Face coverings should cover the nose and mouth. Acceptable face coverings are face masks, bandanas, and gaiter-style coverings. Parents should contact the school if their child needs special accommodations for a different style of face covering. We will also ask students to wash their hands regularly using soap and water throughout the day to help keep everyone healthy. Students may bring individual hand sanitizer for use at their desks. 


Cleaning Between Classes (video)

Cleaning Between AM/PM Students (video)

In-Person and Remote Learning (video)
 


August 12, 2020
Message to Families


Last week we requested that families notify schools of the plans for their student to be in-person, remote, or virtual on the first day of school. The previous message created some confusion about what happens when switching from in-person to remote or from remote to in-person (virtual is a year-long commitment). 

Our goal is to have students in the right educational model on September 8 so that we know whether to expect them in the physical classroom or the remote classroom. Any effects on scheduling are because of the limits on the number of people we can have in a single classroom. We are asking for notification about the first day plans by August 17. This can be done by calling the school. The option to change education models remains in place, even after August 17. 

In middle and high school, students can be moved from in-person to remote learning immediately. Schools will still need to know that students are moving so teachers can accurately check for attendance and so that any services can be moved to the remote environment. Moving from in-person to remote will be accommodated as quickly as possible. Principals will need to evaluate student groupings for impact on classroom capacity and bus capacity. Our goal is for any switch to have minimal impact on the student. Some classes may need to be reassigned to a different room in the building, or to a different class period. Every effort will be made to keep middle school students on the same team and high school students with the same teachers.   

In elementary schools, each grade level has teacher(s) dedicated to remote learning. As a result, moving between in-person and remote instruction will change the teacher/class assignment. Students may still move between the models, but will move to the remote teacher when learning remotely and will move to an in-person teacher when learning in-person. 

We hope this information provides additional clarification regarding the complexities of scheduling students in multiple learning environments. We will work with all families to accommodate the needs of their students. 



August 6, 2020
Message to Families


Good evening MCPS! The first day of school will be here before we know it. Just like we want our buildings to be safe for our students on Day 1, we also want our teachers to be prepared to educate our students. You can help us with this by letting us know which education model you would like your student enrolled in by Monday, August 17. If you completed the Google Form that was sent out in June, your student is good to go. If you want to modify that selection, you can contact the school directly on Monday. 

Notification by August 17 will help us ensure that your child is in the correct place (in person, remote, virtual school) on the first day of school. This helps with class lists, lunch counts, and special services that students receive. We are working to make all of our learning options as robust as possible. Having accurate counts of where students will be will help that process. If you need to make a change after August 17, your school will notify you when that change will be finalized. 

If you plan for your child to not be at school on their first day of school, you should notify your school that your child will be remote. Students who are remote may return earlier than when schools fully re-open. Students who are remote and wish to move to in person after the first day of school will have to follow their school’s re-entry plan. Class schedules and transportation will need to be evaluated before the child can return to school in person. MCPS is working with schools to craft the re-entry plan and timeline. 

Please note that some class lists or teacher assignments may need to change as students move around. Your school will notify you if there is a change in your child’s class assignment. 

Please take some time this weekend to think about the education model that will work best for your student and your family on the first day of school. Thank you for your help as we get ready for another year of learning.


July 24, 2020
Message to Families

The approved MCPS Reopening Plan for 2020-2021 is now available. 

Reopening Plan (Google Doc)

Reopening Plan (.pdf)

The 2020-2021 School Calendar will be finalized after the August 4 School Board meeting.  The first day of school is set for Tuesday, September 8, 2020. 

You can expect additional information and communication about how the reopening plan will be implemented in our schools.  


July 22, 2020
Social Media Post

Wondering how the School Board voted about various decision points in the Reopening Plan? ⠀

Summary Doc - https://buff.ly/2OPTDPz⠀

Results Showing the Breakdown for Each Decision Point - https://buff.ly/2WJlUeX

The remaining calendar items will be decided at the August 4 School Board meeting.

July 21, 2020
Social Media Post

A quick overview of the Reopening decisions made by the School Board tonight. The first day of school will be on Tuesday, September 8. We will start with the schedules as publicized - elementary students attending half-day schedules and secondary students attending on rotating AM/PM half days. .

More detailed information, including an updated Reopening Plan, will be sent out on Wednesday afternoon.

reopening guidelines


July 19, 2020
Message to Families

The MCPS Reopening Plan was updated tonight to provide additional clarification. Please see the links below, including a list of updates made to the document.

School Reopening Plan - revised (Google Doc) - https://buff.ly/3jhowKS

School Reopening Plan - revised (.pdf) - https://buff.ly/3joXWQe

List of July 19 Edits to School Reopening Plan - https://buff.ly/2E08iFT



July 17, 2020
Draft Reopening Plan


The draft reopening plan for 2020-2021 is now available online either in .pdf or as a Google Doc
The School Board will meet on Tuesday at 1 p.m. to discuss this plan and to come to consensus about the board decision points that you will find in the plan. The meeting will be livestreamed to youtube
The agenda for Tuesday's meeting can be found online
Some have expressed interest in attending this meeting. Attendance at the meeting is limited due to social distancing guidelines. The agenda includes information on how to submit comments virtually for public address. 
Have a great weekend. 



June 30, 2020
Schedule Clarification to 6-12 Families

Middle and high school families,

I am writing today to apologize. The information I provided yesterday regarding having siblings across schools on the same schedule was incorrect. Middle and high school students can be placed on an all-morning or all-afternoon schedule to align with their elementary siblings. Additionally middle and high school students can be placed on an all-morning or all-afternoon schedule so that they align across schools. This does mean that the middle or high school student would be virtual-only for some classes

If a secondary student must be placed on a morning-only or afternoon-only schedule, that student will have to do certain classes in a fully-remote format.  For example, a middle school student on an all-morning schedule would only have in-person classes for periods 1,2,5,6; periods 3,4,7 and I/E are only in-person in the afternoon.   

We are committed to working with parents to align schedules for multiple children in the same family.  Contact your children’s school to make this request.  The schools are working together to accommodate these schedule modifications.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.


June 29, 2020
Message to Families

Thank you to the many families who completed our Return to School Questionnaire. Schools will be reaching out to families who have not yet completed this questionnaire. The answers are essential as we work on scheduling students for the start of school in August. 


Today, we want to answer a few of the most asked questions we have received from families, students, and teachers. 


Our goal is for siblings in the same family to attend school on the same day. This is possible for siblings in the same school. The schedules for elementary, middle, and high schools are too different for siblings across schools to be on the same schedule. 


Principals are starting to work on schedules now. If you have special accommodations for the school to consider or questions about your student's IEP needs, please reach out directly to your child’s school. 


The first day of school will be on August 13, but other breaks might change due to the Wednesday planning day. We are continuing to review the calendar, and we will do our best to notify families as soon as possible when the calendar is firm. 


All classes, including specialty and elective classes, will be taught. Methods will differ depending on the grade level, and our teachers are actively working to adjust their practices to accommodate this. 


We are continuing to work on guidelines for the safety of both our students and our staff as school starts on August 13. We will clean classroom spaces between morning and afternoon sessions. As available, we will note classroom furniture for only morning or afternoon use. We will perform symptom screenings before students attend school - we are still working to determine what this process will be. We will do everything that we can to make sure that students are more than 6 feet apart both in the classroom and in the hallway. Students may be asked to wear cloth face coverings when they can not be more than 6 ft apart, like when they are on the bus. Schools, classrooms, desks, and classroom supplies will be sanitized by division staff between groups of students. Teachers will also be asked to wear face coverings when within 6 ft of students or other staff. 


We are continuing to update our FAQ documents. You can view them on our reopening website - http://www.mcps.org/reopening_2020/reopening_f_a_q


We will continue to send messages like this one when there are important updates to share. 


Have a great week!


June 24, 2020
Message to Families

We want to be able to answer your questions quickly and effectively. We have created a form for you to submit a question about schools reopening in 2020.  This form automatically routes your question to the right person who can answer it. Answers to questions will be emailed back to the person who asks the question and placed on the appropriate question document (based on category). 

View Questions and Answers by Topic: 

Athletics
Attendance

Career and Technical Education

Childcare

Counseling and Mental Health

Discipline

Elementary School Curriculum and Scheduling

Equity

Middle and High School Curriculum and Scheduling

Remote Learning and Virtual High School

Technology

Transportation

Health and Safety

School Nutrition

Special Education


June 23, 2020
Message to Families

Good evening families. Today, our Return to School website was updated with the school schedules that were approved by the School Board. If you have not yet viewed the schedules, you can view them on the website. 

We are asking you to complete a Return to School Questionnaire. This questionnaire asks about the choice and preferences you might make regarding transportation, attendance (in-person, remote only, virtual), internet access, interest level in Wednesday enrichment, and child care needs for elementary students. We need you to complete this questionnaire once for each student in your household before Sunday, June 28. 

We know that we are asking a lot from you. Please know that your answers to these questions are not binding.  Your responses will help us work on bus routes, scheduling, and child care options as we prepare for the start of school.  Just as you continue to be patient with us, we will continue to be flexible with you. 

Tomorrow, you can expect to receive a link to submit your questions about the start of school. We are currently compiling responses to the questions most often asked and will send you links to those responses with the method for you to ask your own questions. For tonight, we ask that you not reply to this email with your questions. More information will be sent out tomorrow, just as soon as the link is ready to go out. 

We are continuing to work on our plans throughout these summer days and appreciate your patience. It is not easy to face an unknown start to school, but our school division is strong and we will get through this together. 

Additionally, Health and Safety continues to be top of mind for many families. We are accepting volunteers who wish to participate on the MCPS Health and Safety Team.Please use this form to volunteer to participate on the MCPS Health and Safety Team.  This team will meet several times throughout the summer months in preparation for the re-opening of school in Fall 2020.  Our focus will be on strategies that help keep our students, employees, and community healthy and safe.  We do expect great interest and at some point a team becomes too large to be useful.  We do not anticipate being able to include everyone who volunteers.  We will contact you if you have been selected to be a representative on this team. You must complete this form by Friday, June 26 to be considered for the group.

Have a great evening.


Approved Schedules for Re-Opening of Schools

Elementary Schedule

middle school schedule

high school schedule



June 18, 2020
Good afternoon families. The school board unanimously approved option two for elementary, middle, and high schools. This means elementary students will be assigned to either the morning or afternoon group and will attend school for a half-day (three hours) on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

All middle and high school students will be divided into Groups 1 & 2 (50% each). Each group will take two classes in person every day (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday). Groups will alternate morning & afternoon sessions. When students are not attending classes in person, they will participate in synchronous remote learning at home. Each high school will have a slightly different schedule that will allow them to return to their regular schedules once schools fully reopen.

On Wednesdays, students will not attend school but will have opportunities to engage in additional offerings through student services such as counseling, social-emotional learning, cross-district, and school-based discussion forums, and student leadership training.
Additional information, including bell schedules, will soon be available on the re-opening website. Once this information is online, you will receive another communication from us.

We know that there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered about how this schedule will impact our students, staff, and families. Our team is working diligently to put this plan into action. You will get frequent updates from us as there is more information available. For now, we ask for your patience. Please let us work through the questions that we currently have and create more information for you. That will include a method to submit questions and concerns.

There are still many unknowns about the schedule and about what the fall will look like. What we do know is that we will keep you informed every step of the way. Have a good day.



June 12, 2020

The School Board held a special session to vote on transportation plans for the 2020-21 school year. The School Board unanimously voted for Option 2. This option increases the number of students on each bus, provided that students wear face coverings. Bus aides will be on the bus to monitor students. This allows for fewer bus runs while still bringing more students to the school building, providing the opportunity for more students to be in school. All buses will be sanitized between bus runs. Special accommodations will be made for students who can not wear face coverings for medical reasons. 

The administration also presented a second scheduling option for students that would allow all students to attend school for a portion of the day (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday). 

Parents will receive a survey about the scheduling options on Friday, June 12. They will be asked to complete the survey by Monday, June 15 so that the data can be presented to the School Board. 

Dr. Miear shared a video update about the School Board Meeting. 


June 10, 2020

Virginia's Governor announced provided guidelines for the re-opening of schools in Virginia

Within the guidelines provided MCPS staff worked with re-opening committees to determine what potential options might exist for re-opening schools to students in the fall. A presentation about the re-opening options was presented to the School Board on June 9. A video recording of the presentation is also available

Dr. Miear shared a video with staff and families about the re-opening options and how these options were guided by the state guidelines. 
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