By Adam Pagnucco.
Editor’s note: this post has been updated to include Washington County, Maryland.
In the aftermath of discussion about MCPS’s reopening plans, let’s take a look at what other districts are planning. Bear in mind that jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia are bound by state guidance and they have had different coronavirus infection rates. Below is a summary of the approaches taken by 18 school districts in the Washington-Baltimore region.
Opening with online only as first phase (7 districts)
Arlington County: Schools will begin on September 8 with full-time distance learning. Parents may choose a hybrid model combining distance learning and physical school, which will begin implementation in October.
Charles County: Schools will start with all virtual learning “with a goal of transitioning to Phase 2 as quickly as possible. Phase 2 would include in-person instruction for special populations of students.”
Harford County: Distance learning only for the first semester. A limited number of spaces in physical schools will be offered to students to help them access online instruction.
Howard County: Distance learning only through January 28.
Prince George’s County: Distance learning only for the first two quarters of the school year.
Prince William County: The school year will begin with distance learning only for the first quarter (September 8 through October 30). Afterwards, “the goal will be to transition to a 50% capacity model in the second quarter, with the option for students to remain virtual.”
Washington County: “Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) students will begin the 2020-2021 school year with all students in grades pre-k through 12 engaged in distance learning. The Board of Education unanimously agreed to adopt a model of full distance learning beginning August 31, 2020 and continuing until it is safe for students to physically return to school.”
Preliminary plan with online only as first phase (3 districts)
Calvert County: “On July 16th, the Board of Education of Calvert County Public Schools decided to continue the discussion of how to open the 2020-2021 school year. To ensure the safety of staff and students during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board is in favor of starting the year online for all students. Board members recognize, however, that barriers exist for some students to learn online. The Board will continue to accept public comments about meeting the needs of students with limited or no internet connectivity or other challenges through July 22nd.”
Carroll County: Reopening will occur in three sequential phases: enhanced virtual/distance learning for all students, hybrid model combining distance learning and some in-person instruction and a traditional model. Parents may opt for online only for the entire fall semester.
Opening with choice model (1 district)
Fairfax County: Parents have been given a choice between full-time distance learning and a hybrid option with at least two days in physical schools.
Preliminary plan with hybrid or choice model (2 districts)
District of Columbia: According to a preliminary plan, parents may choose between all online learning or a hybrid of in-person and online. Mayor Muriel Bowser has said a final plan will be announced on July 31.
Frederick County: A draft plan suggests that most schools will open with a hybrid model in which students will be divided into two cohorts and alternate between two days in physical school and three days in virtual learning.
No plan yet (5 districts)
Alexandria City: The district is still in its planning process and does not yet have a draft plan.
Anne Arundel County: The district is still in its planning process and does not yet have a draft plan.
Baltimore City: The district is preparing a preliminary plan for consideration by the school board on July 28.
Baltimore County: No decision has been made.
Loudoun County: No plan has yet been released.
So far, no public school district in the region has said it will reopen with 100% traditional in-person instruction.