This site provides responses to questions posed at the Safe Return to School Town Hall.

Responses will be added as additional questions are posed, and responses may be modified based on new information or changes to public health conditions or organizational experiences.

  • If online instruction is used in the Fall, will it be more interactive?
    • Yes. Schoology will be the primary platform for online learning support and instruction. This platform provides a more interactive system for both synchronous and asynchronous learning. 
  • What scheduling accommodations will be made for families who have students at more than one school?
    • When decisions are made about alternative scheduling, parents/guardians will be asked to provide information about siblings that may attend different schools so schedules may be coordinated.
  • There has been little time for social connection with peers- What mental health supports are in place to help students?
    • The Recovery Planning team has a subcommittee that is addressing this important element. Counselors, social workers, and mental health staff are available for support. In addition, resources are available online at https://www.smcps.org/ss/mental-health-resources
  • Should students return to full-time, in-person classes in the fall, what is the plan going forward to promote social distancing in the classroom, in hallways, in cafeterias, at recess and on buses? 
    • The Recovery Planning team has a subcommittee that is addressing this important element with specific guidance. We will rely on the guidance provided by the CDC and our local Health Department to make sure students and staff are safe when entering school buildings.  These include frequent cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched areas, wearing masks during the school day and on buses, promoting frequent hand washing, reducing the number of students/staff congregating as appropriate, considering alternating schedules as appropriate, and other safeguards.
  • Some communication has come out that indicates children may return to school in some form this fall, with some hints that it may be blended (mix of virtual and in person). Is it possible to tell us the actual format plan for the county or maybe by school?
  • My child has special needs that require therapies in class. When can we expect the children who have needs that can’t be met properly online to resume in-person therapy? 
    • The Department of Special Education will support students as they return with their peers to the school building. With the new Schoology platform, special education teachers will have many additional features that allow for direct services when not within the structure of the building. Additional details will be provided with the complete Safe Return to School plan.
  • My middle schooler struggled very much with having no face time with her teachers. If this continues in the fall can we expect virtual face to face learning?
    • The platform and approach for the Fall 2020 will be substantially different than the Spring 2020. Blended learning models and a more robust and engaged learning platform, Schoology, will be used for the 2020-2021 school year. 
  • What process is in place as far as social distancing on the bus and classrooms? Will the sick day policy be changed or the number of days increased so not to penalize the student?
    • The Student Services subcommittee is working on a process for calculating attendance while we are using a virtual platform. We also are expecting guidance from the state to inform that process. 
  • The State Superintendent stated that all local school systems must establish a Recovery Plan Stakeholder Group - how & when will SMCPS establish this group?
    • This group was established and has over 90 members to include parents, teacher, administrators, and students. After the virtual Town Hall we had parents reach out to us offering to serve on the committee. We accepted their offer and also asked schools to  identify parents who may want to help with this work. 
  • Will masks be required?
    • Face coverings/masks will be required for students and staff during the school day and on buses.
  • How are the Tech Center Students that are learning a hands on skill,  (such as Diesel,  Auto, etc) going to get the instruction that they need? This can't be taught online.
    • Career and Technology courses will be structured so online components will address knowledge and theory, and the hands-on elements will be addressed during the days when students are on site. Therefore, if an alternate schedule is employed (e.g., A/B days), instructional plans will focus the hands-on application components during the in-class days.
  • How will you address IEP goals and provide compensatory services?  Will the services be provided in person or video conferencing?
    • Special education, under IDEA, is centered on the strengths and needs of each individual student. All decisions related to the special education programming for a student with a disability should be driven by data. Therefore, before the Department of Special Education can make a determination about whether an IEP is appropriately written or needs to be amended/revised, or if the student may be entitled to compensatory education/recovery services, the school system/department will review data for the individual student.
  •  What is the likelihood of returning to in-person school in the fall, and will parents be given an option to continue virtually? 
    • The planning committee is working on plans to include phased in or alternative schedules for the fall. This includes a combination of blended and virtual options, where families will be able to make choices. Additional information will follow at the upcoming Board of Education meeting and  Town Hall sessions.
  • Will there be football or other sports in the fall?
    • We have a subcommittee working on this question and reviewing options. We are also awaiting further guidance from Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA)
  • How can I get a copy of this recovery school plan?
    • It will be presented at the July 22, 2020 Board of Education meeting. Following that meeting, it will be posted on our website.
  • If we are going to be in a mixed setting with some in-home and some in person, will there be a way to align siblings' schedules to assist parents?
    • Yes, we will develop a process for parents to have their children on the same schedule.