Frederick County Public School Students Return To Classes Wednesday For The First Day

An official with FCPS says most everyone is happy to be back.

Frederick, Md. (KM) – It seems that everyone is happy to e back in classes. That’s according to Brandon Oland, Communications Manager for Frederick County Public Schools, who visited schools in the Urbana High feeder area on Wednesday, the first day of classes for the 2022-2023 academic year.

“The big takeaway for me was just the enthusiasm that we saw everywhere from students and staff. I think everyone’s happy to be back,” he says.

Oland notes that local public schools went through two years of dealing with COVID-19, which forced the closures of schools around Maryland in 2020. During that time, remote learning was available to the students, and not everyone adapted very well.

The Frederick County School System has lifted mask requirements. It’s now voluntary. “If folks want to wear masks, we encourage  that. There are a fair amount of students and staff that are still wearing them, but they’re not mandatory,” he says.

In its regulations, the School System says masks are still required on school buses for drivers and riders. They are also required in health rooms and other clinical setting, according to requirements from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Any student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate themselves for five full days from the onset of symptoms, School System regulations say. If a person returns before the 11th day of symptom onset will need to wear a mask at all time when indoors for six to 11 days. Those who can’t mask up may remain unmasked if they present documentation of a negative COVID-19 test on day five or later, according to the regulations.

“When positive cases are reported to us, making sure that folks are quarantining for the required time. And making sure that we try to keep everybody safe as we return back to the school,” says Oland.

One of the biggest news stories nationwide is the shortage of teachers and other school personnel. Oland says FCPS has 44 general education and 27 special education teaching positions to fill; and is always in need of support employees such as office staff, bus drivers and other employees.

“Every classroom has a teacher,” he says. “And thanks to the work that our Board {of Education} did, raising the starting salaries for several positions, we have been able to successfully hire a lot of great folks who have come in to join us this year.”

By Kevin McManus