Update 7/29/20: This blog has been updated to include new information from St. Mary’s County Public Schools.
Reopening Southern Maryland: Update on Public Schools
The latest hot button issue to develop from the embers of the COVID-19 pandemic: the fate of the 2020-2021 school year. As with masks and social distancing guidelines, the decision to either reopen schools in some capacity or start completely virtual has divided the country, our state and our tri-county area. With so much “information” floating around the social media waves, we again thought it might be helpful to our followers if we compiled all the information on our state and the Southern Maryland region into one place. Below you will find some information on what the Maryland State Superintendent has laid out as guidance for 20-21 school year, as well as what our local jurisdictions plan to do. As well, you’ll find helpful links to the three public school websites with even more detailed information. We suggest bookmarking these sites or this blog for further updates as they become available!
What is Maryland’s Reopening Plan?
As with the governor’s Roadmap to Recovery Plan, each jurisdiction in Maryland is granted the flexibility to adapt state mandates and policies pertaining to the 20-21 school year as they feel appropriate to their location. That being said, the state has outlined three “guardrails” for the upcoming academic year. All school systems in Maryland must adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for schools, comply with state health protocols for addressing an outbreak of COVID-19 and include equity as a bench mark for local recovery plans. Additionally, each school system is being asked to ensure safe transportation, develop attendance-taking procedures and address the “persistent digital divide” that exists within each student population. These measures will help to ensure disadvantaged populations do not fall through the cracks during the academic year. For more information on Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Education, click here.
To learn what each county in the Southern Maryland area is planning for the 20-21 school year, continue reading…
At a special meeting held on July 24, 2020, the Board of Education of Calvert County Public Schools voted in favor of a virtual opening for the 2020-2021 school year. School will be conducted online for the first semester unless the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic changes significantly. The first day of the 20-21 school year is Tuesday, Sept. 1. To learn more on Calvert County’s plan for public schools, click here.
Charles County Public Schools was the first in our tri-county area to announce their 20-21 school plans. On July 14, 2020 the Charles County Board of Education voted to start the 2020-21 school year with virtual learning for all students, with a goal of transitioning to Phase 2 as quickly as possible. Phase 2 would include in-person instruction for special populations of students. The first day of the 2020-21 school year is Monday, Aug. 31. To learn more on Charles County’s plan for public schools, click here.
St. Mary’s County
St. Mary’s County Public Schools announced on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 that it will begin the 2020-2021 school year with virtual learning for all students, with a goal of transitioning to a Hybrid Schedule model as quickly and safely as possible. The Hybrid Schedule would begin with students in PreK/K, 6th grade and 9th grade. The first day of the 2020-2021 school year for St. Mary’s County is Monday, Aug. 31. To learn more on St. Mary’s County’s plan for public schools, click here.
Per Governor Hogan and State Superintendent Salmon, all Maryland school districts have until August 14, 2020 to make their final decisions regarding the start of the 20-21 academic year.