students arriving at school

Community Update

August 26, 2021

Dear MCPS Community:

Here are 10 things you need to know about the Aug. 24, 2021, Board of Education meeting and the reopening of schools. The first day of school for MCPS students is Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.

Staff, parents and students are invited to submit their favorite first-day-of-school snapshots. After you have snapped moments from the first day, select the best photo and email it to For social media, parents and students can post photos on Twitter using the hashtag #MCPS1stday. The pictures will be posted to an online gallery.

  1. Health and safety is our top priority. MCPS is implementing a multi-layer health and safety protocol to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and protect school community members. Strategies include the use of masks, enhanced sanitation, improved ventilation, and processes for testing students in Prekindergarten–Grade 6, contact tracing and quarantine, as necessary. In addition, all staff are required to submit proof of vaccination or participate in weekly COVID-19 testing.

  2. Schools will host virtual Back-to-School Nights at all levels and virtual/outdoor Open Houses at the elementary level. This is due to the significant rise in COVID-19 cases across the county and state. Student orientation will take place in-person as scheduled.

  3. MCPS will provide COVID-19 screening testing for students in Prekindergarten–Grade 6. Families will need to opt-in for testing; a random sample of students will be selected each week. This preventive testing provides early detection of COVID-19. 

  4. Schools are maximizing available spaces inside and outside school buildings during lunch. This will reduce the number of students in school cafeterias.

  5. MCPS will begin assessing student learning in September. Data from these assessments will enable schools to develop plans to best meet student needs.

  6. MCPS will minimize learning disruption when students are in isolation or quarantine in accordance with the guidelines established by the Maryland Department of Health. At the elementary level, individual students in isolation or quarantine will receive live, virtual instruction from a teacher on a separate schedule from their peers; if an entire class is in quarantine, the teacher will provide virtual instruction for the class. At the secondary level, students in isolation or quarantine will have opportunities to connect with their teachers for live check-ins.

  7. Student Well-Being Teams will remain in place for the 2021-2022 school year. These teams provide critical support to students to reduce barriers to learning, conduct outreach to families, support students’ mental health needs, and/or connect with students not engaging in the educational program.

  8. MCPS will continue to partner with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services to host COVID-19 vaccination clinics for staff and students aged 12 and older. There are several clinics scheduled in the next 10 days.  Appointments are not required, but to reserve an appointment, please register using the links below:

    • Friday, Aug. 27 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Paint Branch High School, 14121 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville. Register here.

    • Wednesday, Sept. 1 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Shady Grove Bus Depot, 16651 Crabbs Branch Way in Rockville. Register here.

    • Saturday, Sept. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Watkins Mill High School, 10301 Apple Ridge Road in Gaithersburg. Register here.

  9. Everyone entering an MCPS facility will be required to wear a face covering, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are also required on school buses. So Mask Up, MCPS. Be Smart. Do Your Part. Stay Safe. 

  10. MCPS will not close school buildings and move to fully virtual instruction for all students unless state government officials order the school system to do so. If state government orders reduced capacity in school buildings, MCPS is developing a plan for hybrid instruction where students would receive in-person instruction on some days and virtual instruction on other days.

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Montgomery County Public Schools