Frederick County School Board Discusses Reopening Plans

One is a hybrid model.                                                                                                                                 

 

 

Frederick, Md (KM) Proposals to reopen Frederick County Public Schools was presented to the Board of Education on Wednesday.

There are several scenarios outlined in a plan developed by School System staff. Phase one  is similar to what’s in effect now, where school buildings are closed, but students have access to distance learning. Phase two is a hybrid model. Phase three is where school buildings are reopened for classroom instruction with some restrictions in place for health and safety concerns.

Phase two generated discussion among Board members. It would divide students into Cohorts A and B. That would be based on academic needs, course selection, school-age siblings, student needs and the student’s mode of transportation. Cohort A students would receive classroom instruction on Mondays and Tuesdays, while Cohort B would take part in virtual learning. Students in both Cohorts would received on line learning on Wednesdays, while school system staff cleans  the buildings. On Thursday and Friday, students in Cohort B would attend classes in school buildings while Cohort A students take part in virtual learning.

Board of Ed member Liz Barrett wanted more details. “I need to focus on the details today as a Board member because I can’t move forward with saying ‘yeah, the hybrid plan sounds great,” she says. “I’m not comfortable as a human being and resident of Frederick  County with other people going into the schools right now.”

Dr. Theresa Alban, Superintendent of Schools, said this plan is only a draft. “We’re not asking you to approve a plan tonight,” she said. “And we can add more details and more specificity.”

All public schools in Maryland were closed in March to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. But on line learning opportunities are available for students.

Board member Lois Jarman says she’s not ready to reopen school buildings just yet. “I haven’t seen enough to convince me that we can open schools on a hybrid model and not risk the lives of students and teachers,”: she said.

Along with that, Jarman added. “We live in a community where we have a large population who is not even accepting the reality of this virus,” she said. “What does that look like when those students enter the classroom. What does that mean in terms of willingness of students to wear a mask.”

Dr. Alban defended the hybrid model. “What do you do when, because of social distancing requirements, you cannot put your full population of students back in the building. That means you have to go to some sort of hybrid model,” she said.

The message to School System staff from the Board  was more specifics on the plan to reopen schools.

A virtual town hall on options for reopening schools is scheduled for Wednesday, July 15th from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. The program can be viewed on the  FCPS TV Channel 18, or online at www.fcps.org/tv.

Citizens can sent questions to FCPSReopens@fcps.org, or  call in during the town hall at 301-696-6966.

The School System says it’s posted information and a survey link about reopening options  will be posted next week. It’s https://www.fcps.org/update/reopening.

 

By Kevin McManus