Dear MCPS Community:
The Montgomery County Board of Education and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) are committed to providing students with a world-class education, while also addressing their social, emotional and academic needs. This commitment is shared by teachers, administrators, supporting services staff, parents and the community. This letter presents the 2022-2023 School Year Reopening Guide for Schools.
The health and safety of our students and staff remain a top priority. Although COVID-19 is still with us, MCPS intends to carry out its continued commitment to deliver in-person instruction, five days a week, for all of our students. Our new MCPS medical officer, Dr. Patricia Kapunan, will partner with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services to help implement COVID-19 guidance, with the goal of maintaining in-person learning while promoting the wellness of our entire school community.
What you Need to Know
Health and safety measures in our reopening guide have been updated to reflect new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Maryland State Department of Health and the Maryland State Department of Education.
A set of core health practices that prevent the spread of infection in schools, such as good handwashing and staying home when sick, are complemented by specific strategies to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
Recommendations and requirements for COVID-specific strategies may change during the school year, as COVID-19 science and data trends change.
What has not changed in our COVID-19 strategy?
Vaccination: Vaccination remains a critical strategy to protect against severe illness from COVID-19 infection. MCPS continues to strongly encourage eligible individuals to remain up to date on CDC-recommended vaccines and will continue to support access and opportunities for COVID-19 vaccination for our staff and students. At this time, students are not required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend school. MCPS staff members are currently required to submit proof of vaccination or a medical exemption.
Masking: According to the Maryland State Board of Education, masks are no longer mandatory in Maryland public schools and local school districts may decide how to use masks to maintain safe, in-person learning. Masks will be made available to all staff and students, and supported for individuals who choose to wear a mask at any COVID-19 community risk level. Masking may be temporarily recommended or required in local outbreaks, high-risk situations, or, more broadly, when COVID-19 community transmission is high.
What has changed in our COVID-19 strategy?
Testing: The CDC no longer recommends routine screening in K-12 schools. MCPS has discontinued weekly school-based PCR screening testing. Rapid testing will still be used for diagnostic testing of students who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms during the school day or screening in higher-risk situations like outbreaks or following school breaks.
Quarantine: The CDC no longer recommends quarantine of all students or staff identified as close contacts of individuals positive for COVID-19. Regardless of vaccination status, close contacts may continue in-person learning and will not have to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic, and other prevention measures can be used to reduce transmission.
As we renew our commitment to another year of quality teaching and learning, we all have the same goal and belief that schools must provide the best opportunity for our students and the future.
As superintendent, I have three priorities:
Building and rebuilding trust with students, staff and community
Supporting mental health and well-being for students and staff
Focusing on equitable teaching and learning
These focus areas are vital as we continue to renew relationships and ensure a targeted education that serves all students. The remainder of the 2022-2023 Reopening Guide to Schools outlines what to expect in other areas of our work, including:
Curriculum and instruction, including special education and the Virtual Academy
Tutoring and interventions
Grading, attendance, engagement and accountability
Supports for students, staff and families
Community engagement and communications
Working together ensures our students can safely learn and thrive as they return to school. They are supported by the nation's most talented and dedicated workforce. Our commitments to the entire MCPS community are critical steps to achieving a successful start to the school year for all students.
Dr. Monifa B. McKnight, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Email us: ASKMCPS@mcpsmd.org