Montgomery County Schools to Begin Classes Virtually

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The new school year in Montgomery County will begin Aug. 31 entirely online, but the plan for how classes will look later in the year is still being developed.

“Once we start phasing students in, whenever that happens, that will probably take eight to 12 weeks, which would take us to November,” Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith.

Health concerns will guide the decision whether to reopen public schools.

“We need to see improvements in the numbers to see little to no infection in our communities to allow us to be able to feel comfortable opening schools up,” said Dr. Travis Gayles of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations is hearing opposing opinions about reopening schools.

Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia

COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia

Source: DC, MD and VA Health Departments
Credit: Anisa Holmes / NBC Washington

“On one side, we have parents who want to insure that their students have a rigorous educational experience believing that in person is going to be much more rigorous than online,” MCCPTA President Cynthia Simonson said. “On the other hand, you have the safety concerns and that not exposing students and teachers to the risks is really the paramount concern at this point.”

Asked what the acceptable level of risk of infection is for reopening, Smith said there is no answer to that question.

The plan for reopening Montgomery County Public Schools has to be approved by the Maryland Department of Education by mid-August.

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