MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — After Montgomery County Public Schools moved hybrid learning students in grades four through 12 to entirely online learning on Sept. 14 amid a significant increase in the county’s coronavirus cases, the school district announced plans to return those students to in-person classes Monday.
According to the school district’s announcement on Wednesday, Sept. 23, all in-person students will return to half-day, in-person classes four days a week — Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday — starting Monday, Sept. 28. However, students enrolled in the remote learning program will continue with their current schedule.
School officials say this decision returns Montgomery County Public Schools to “Phase III, Level 2” of instruction under the school district’s flexible reopening plan. Therefore, all students will reportedly return to the same schedule that had on Sept. 11.
On Wednesday, Montgomery County Public Schools shared the following message with 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.Montgomery County Public Schools
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