Friday, January 7, 2022

MCPS drops 5% threshold for virtual learning

MCPS Interim Superintendent 
Monifa McKnight

Montgomery County Public Schools announced its latest coronavirus policy about-face this afternoon. After starting the spring semester with a 5% threshold for Covid-19 cases that would trigger a school to switch to virtual learning, eleven schools were forced to go online. But when more than 100 schools met the threshold days later, MCPS canceled a scheduled Thursday email update to parents. It then announced in the past hour that it is dropping the 5% threshold for virtual learning.

"Moving forward, MCPS and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will examine schools on a case-by-case basis to determine if any particular school needs to transition to virtual learning for a designated period of time," Interim Superintendent of Schools Monifa McKnight and Acting Chief Health Officer James Bridgers wrote in this afternoon's statement. "Factors considered will continue to include the number of students and staff who have tested positive; the number of students in quarantine; the number of staff absent for COVID-related reasons; and the level of spread of the virus in the school."

McKnight and Bridgers cited the fact that the state of Maryland does not call for a specific threshold to suspend in-class learning. Their statement did not explain why the threshold was adopted if not recommended by the state. It said the Thursday emails will resume next week. Take-home rapid test kits will also be distributed to all students and staff next week, the statement added. Students who test positive will have to isolate for 10 days from the date of the positive test.

Photo courtesy MCPS

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