Possible return to in person learning

Freddy Beavers

More stories from Freddy Beavers


Montgomery County Public Schools

Outline of transition from virtual learning to in person learning.

On Nov. 6, MCPS stated that school could possibly return to in person learning on January 12. They explained that the 14 day infection rate per 100,000 people had to be below 5 new cases in order to fully return to school. The 14 day infection rate is currently 19.9 new cases. MCPS aims to allow Special Education students into schools first and then allow younger grade levels.

“If we can come back in January, we will,” said MCPS superintendent Jack Smith

On Sept. 27, Montgomery County Public Schools gave its employees a 45-day notice for a possible reopening of school. In the statement, they assured parents and students that health and safety was their priority. They also made sure to emphasize that the decision to return would be a collaborative effort requiring both school and health officials. The announcement indicated that MCPS was in a planning stage, but they did not reveal any solid dates.

The Nov. 6 announcement by no means guarantees a start date, but it provides hope for students, parents and teachers that there is a plan to reopen MCPS schools.

Among faculty, there is plenty of doubt surrounding the reopening of schools. Some believe that the infection rate will not decrease enough over the coming months to return to school, while others think that even if the infection rates were lowered, the return to school would not be safe. Other teachers have more pressing concerns.

“I’m so focused on preparing for online courses right now,” social studies teacher Christopher Merrill said.

Despite being notified that they should prepare to return, teachers are still unconvinced by MCPS’ proactivity.

“I am a little skeptical about how transparent they will be about the return to school dates,” mathematics teacher Rachel Zussman said.

The news of the 45-day notice did not really surprise teachers. However, the announcement on November 6 provided a glimmer of hope.

Students have similar feelings toward reopening schools. They would much rather see their friends in-person than through computer screens, but they are still wary of the virus and how MCPS will handle reopening schools.

“It is going to be weird seeing all of my friends after quarantine,” senior Daniel Outmezguine said.

School-sponsored events have been limited or canceled this year along with sports being suspended for the time being. Students are eager for a return to normalcy.

The recent announcements from MCPS have calmed nerves and have also left many questions unanswered. MCPS will host a Zoom meeting on December 3 to take a final vote on it’s reopening plans. With the recent news that two companies have formulated effective vaccines for COVID-19, parents, teachers and students are starting to feel optimistic about a return to school.