But families can still opt for two days a week, or virtual learning.
Frederick, Md (KM) Students attending Frederick County elementary schools can go to class four days a week starting next week. The Board of Education approved an updated memorandum of understanding with the Frederick County Teachers Association (FCTA), the Frederick Association of School Support Employees (FASSE) and the Frederick County Administrative and Supervisory Association (FCASA).
Dr. Theresa Alban, Superintendent of Schools, says elementary schools currently operate under a hybrid model where students attend in-person classes two days a week, and do virtual learning the other three days. Their families can also elect to participate in virtual learning only. :”Some of the students that are currently going two days a week will be able to go four days a week,” she says. “And some of students who had been attending virtually only, their families have also indicated they would like to come back four days a week.”
But Dr. Alban says parents who students attending virtual classes can continue do so through the end of the school year which is June 17th. “The window for moving to the four days of instruction is anytime between May 10th and May 17th,” she says “So you’re going to see messages coming from individual schools that may show a different date when that will start, depending on how much of a change this really meant in their building and logistically being able to accommodate that change.”
During a special meeting on Thursday, April 22nd, the Board of Education rescinded a previous decision to expand the hybrid model in elementary schools to allow for four days of in-person instruction. But the FCTA, FASSE and FCASA filed a complaint, claiming that decision violated the MOU which was currently in place.
Dr. Alban says the three bargaining units have approved the updated MOU.
The Frederick County School System, along with other school systems around Maryland, began operating on a virtual model last year to help protect students, teachers and staff from contracting the COVID-19 virus. Dr. Alban says some students may have fallen behind by being outside of school for a long period of time, and may need remedial help. “Some might just need a little bit refreshers on some of their skills. Others may have really started falling behind and are going to need more support and reinforcement in order to get caught up,” she says.
But Dr. Alban says most teachers and staff are looking forward to welcoming students back to the classroom. “I’ve heard so many people who have said to me ‘the children are the heart of our schools.’ So they miss them and they’re very excited to have them face-to-face,” she says.
The 2021–2022 academic year is expected to begin on August 18th. Dr. Alban hopes by that time schools will be open five days a week for in-person instruction.
By Kevin McManus