Montgomery County Public Schools Plans for Fall Opening

Published draft subject to review

Montgomery County Public Schools announced Saturday a plan for reopening schools this fall.

The plan for “MCPS Fall 2020: Reimagine, Reopen, Recover,” a 21-page document clearly marked DRAFT, spells out “Considerations for MCPS Fall 2020 Recovery.”

The conclusion: “MCPS anticipates starting the school year in a virtual-only instructional model given the current public health conditions, to plan for the needs of our families and to provide sufficient training for staff and students on new COVID-19 protocols.”

“The 2020-2021 school year will begin on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, for all students,” the draft begins. “Students will return to schools on a rotational schedule for in-person learning with reduced class sizes and reduced numbers of students in the buildings. Due to limited capacity, transportation resources will be prioritized to elementary and middle school students. The goal is for all grade levels to be in a school rotation by end of November. Students will return to classrooms by grade level, last name/address, and cluster in phases over the first months of the school year.”

Followed by the Implementation Schedule saying that students will start the year with virtual schooling. In-class sessions will be phased in later. Phases of the implementation were listed.

“• Phases will last 2-4 weeks depending on school level and grade/age.

• Phases may be adjusted based on changing public health conditions and implementation experience.

• Details and dates will follow.”

In an introductory letter, Superintendent of Schools Jack R. Smith wrote, “…. 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. 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. 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.

“I want to reiterate that this is just a draft guide and we will continue to amend, adjust and improve 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. 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.”

Included in the document is a list of State Requirements for Opening Schools and a list of MCPS Guiding Principles for reopening schools; a list of three sequencing phases for students to return to school, and two sample Instructional models. The first model for Blended Virtual Learning – a combination of home and school learning, and, the second, for all virtual learning.

At this stage, when in-class learning returns, the plan is for students to go to school two days per week.

“The goal is for all grade levels to be in a school rotation by the end of November,” according to the document, all stakeholders; students, parents, faculty and staff are invited to provide feedback regarding the just published plan. To participate, visit:

Also Included is a page with just four Frequently Asked Questions with a note at the bottom stating: “An extensive FAQs about our fall recovery planning will be posted on the MCPS website in the coming weeks.”

To read the entire document, visit:

The Montgomery County Board of Education will meet virtually Tuesday, July 14 at the Almanac’s presstime. The meeting will begin at 12:30 p.m., discussion of the MCPS Recovery of Education Plan at 1:40 p.m. For more information, visit