Is this email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser Date: July 11, 2020

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Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff and Students:

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has been actively planning and preparing for the start of the 2020-2021 school year since Governor Larry Hogan and State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced on May 6 that they would be closing all Maryland school buildings for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. As you can imagine, this work has been challenging and incredibly complex. We have discussed and evaluated several possible models for reopening schools and the truth is, there is no one option that can address all of the instructional, operational and logistical challenges that our school system is faced with. Most importantly, we know all of the options we consider must be examined through the lens of equity and excellence, and ensure the health and safety of our 166,000 students and 24,000 staff members. We are confronted with re-ordering and reimagining every aspect of the school experience for our students. And while it is not what we hoped for or could have ever imagined, we will begin the 2020-2021 school year in an unprecedented way—including new health protocols, physical distancing and more

Our goal is to provide high-quality instruction and learning experiences for all MCPS students, whether in-person or virtually. We continue to work diligently on plans for the fall that are focused on enhancing virtual learning and bringing back as many students as possible for in-person instruction on a consistent basis. I do want to make it clear that the decision to reopen school buildings for some or all students will ultimately be made by Governor Hogan and Dr. Salmon. We are also working closely with our local officials, who are providing additional support and guidance on what the reopening of MCPS schools could possibly look like given current health conditions in our county and state. 

Today, I am writing to share with you some of our initial considerations and planning for the fall. The MCPS Fall 2020: Reimagine, Reopen, Recover Guide provides an overview of a few of the recovery models we are considering at this time, in light of the information and guidance we have received from the Maryland State Department of Education and from our county health partners. I want to reiterate that this is just a draft guide and we will continue to amend, adjust and improve upon these recommendations as we receive feedback from you—our parents, staff and students. We know that you will have many questions and concerns as you review these draft options and we want to assure you that we will work with you every step of the way to address your concerns and questions in the coming weeks. We recognize that the abrupt closure of schools in the spring and the uncertainty about the fall has caused significant disruption and stress for our families. We’ve taken into account the many perspectives families have shared with us based on their specific needs and circumstances.

{MCPS Fall 2020: Reimagine, Reopen, Recover—Read the Draft Guide}

Our approach to reopening schools has been a collaborative effort. We have gathered feedback from parents, staff, community members and other key stakeholders. This feedback has informed how we have approached our preliminary planning. More than 55,000 parents/guardians completed our fall recovery survey. The survey results indicate that physical health and safety, having options for how students receive instruction, and having a consistent schedule every week are very important to MCPS families. We will continue to engage the community in conversation on our planning for the fall and provide multiple opportunities for you to share your thoughts and suggestions. At the end of the draft guide, we have provided a link to the feedback form where you can submit your input on our initial considerations. Your feedback is critical. 

The Board of Education will hold a discussion on preliminary recovery plans at its July 14 business meeting. We encourage you to tune in to this important conversation. The meeting, which will begin at 12:30 p.m., will be streamed live on the MCPS website and on MCPS TV (Comcast 34, Verizon 36, RCN 89). If you are unable to tune in live, a recording of the meeting will be posted on YouTube and on the MCPS website. 

We are in this together. I am grateful for your continued support and flexibility as we work together to build a comprehensive plan that will meet the needs of our families, students and staff. 

Below are additional updates on an upcoming virtual conversation on fall recovery planning, child care in MCPS facilities and the latest Waymaking series conversation on the impact of racism on mental health. 


Jack R. Smith, Ph.D. 
Superintendent of Schools

MCPS Fall 2020: Reimagine, Reopen, Recover—A Virtual Conversation

On Wednesday, July 15, MCPS will host a live virtual conversation on the district’s draft recovery plan. Members of the community will learn more about the initial recommendations for reopening from MCPS leaders and will have an opportunity to ask questions. The virtual conversation will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be streamed live on the MCPS website, MCPS TV and on YouTube. Submit questions in advance by visiting A Spanish version will be made available on Thursday, July 16. It will be posted on the MCPS website and on the MCPS YouTube channel. 

Child Care in MCPS Facilities

As MCPS is working to finalize health and safety operational plans and protocols for reopening schools for students, we are also working to open school facilities for child care providers. MCPS has communicated with all child care providers in MCPS facilities to share the current status of recovery planning and next steps to assist providers with their planning.

There are several different lease and facility arrangements with child care providers in MCPS facilities. Provider reopening will vary according to these different circumstances. Some providers may be opening soon; other providers will open in conjunction with MCPS reopening schools for students. Please contact your provider for more information. MCPS and Community Use of Public Facilities are working together to support providers of before and after care for school-aged children in MCPS facilities and to coordinate discussions around scenarios for reopening schools and programs. 

Courageous Conversations on the Impact of Racism on Mental Health

The second part of A Courageous Conversation on the Impact of Racism on Mental Health focused on how people can get help and support with mental health concerns, as well as how to eliminate the stigma of getting mental health support. You can watch both conversations here.

Superintendent Jack Smith has written an opinion piece that was featured in the Bethesda Beat that reflects on racism in our county and the ongoing work of the school system to advance equity and excellence.
You can read the article here

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