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The following is to provide general information regarding the FCPS contingency plan during high COVID-19 transmission. More details regarding timelines and procedures will be forthcoming in the days ahead.
Frederick County continues to experience high transmission of COVID-19. To continue our instructional program for students, FCPS is prepared for any eventuality.
If a school needs to pause its in-person instructional model, FCPS has contingency plans in place for:
Our plans were formulated after staff reviewed feedback from parent and staff surveys and student focus group interviews. FCPS is a continuous improvement school system, and we will continue to update our plans moving forward based on feedback from all FCPS stakeholders.
Any shift from in-person learning will require student technology access. FCPS has a one-to-one model at the secondary level. Elementary students who need a device to support virtual learning will be provided one upon request. More details about device distribution would be provided by schools ahead of any shifts in learning.
Internet access hotspots have already been made available for families in need to ensure access to online resources. In addition, a number of schools have been identified as exterior hot spot locations, where FCPS network resources can be accessed by families from parking lots. While these resources are available, FCPS intends to again implement small group instruction for students as a primary method to ensure equitable access to instructional resources.
The Maryland State Department of Education and health officials agree that much has been learned about the COVID-19 virus and that schools should be the last to close after considering other mitigating measures that can be implemented. That said, FCPS will partner with local health officials to monitor school positivity rates for both staff and students, attendance, operational details and other community data on a regular basis to evaluate if a temporary and brief pause to in person instruction may be necessary. Virtual instruction would then be provided.
In early January, FCPS will share full details about each contingency plan via FCPS.org. In the meantime, we want to provide a brief overview of each plan. In all models, the FCPS Blended Virtual Program will continue as scheduled.
Virtual Instructional Model
In the event the system moves to a full virtual instructional model, students will receive virtual instruction from their assigned teachers. There will not be two cohorts.
Implementation of a full virtual instructional model may be necessary on a temporary basis in cases when there is a high COVID-19 transmission rate within a school community. Students will follow a similar schedule to what they are experiencing during in person learning.
Hybrid Instructional Model
The hybrid instructional model will be implemented only if a school closure is required for an extended period of time (at least one term). Our goal is to keep students in schools to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, significant challenges exist for teachers leading concurrent learning.
In a hybrid model, students will be assigned to either Cohort A or B. Students with the last names ending in A-M will be in Cohort A and attend in-person learning on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Students with last names ending N-Z will be in Cohort B and attend in-person learning on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Wednesday in-person instruction will occur on alternating Wednesdays (first Wednesday Cohort A, second Wednesday Cohort B).
School Year 2022 Special Education Services
In the event that student learning is required to move to a Hybrid or a Virtual learning setting, students who participate in specialized programs (Expressions, Learning for Life, Pyramid, RISE, SUCCESS, and Rock Creek School) will be invited to participate in instruction up to 5 days a week in person.
Students with IEPs who regularly participate in grade-level learning with their mainstream peers should remain with their cohort in the hybrid learning environment, with access to specialized services via opposing days of hybrid cohort instruction, in the form of in person or telehealth services.
In order for students with IEPs to be able to access all active IEP services as well as recovery determinations, a full instructional day is necessary for full implementation of IEP services. Students with disabilities who participate in the Blended Virtual Program as agreed upon by the IEP and 504 team will continue services as determined.
Keeping you updated
We are committed to keeping our community updated. We will continue to meet regularly with the Frederick County Health Department and follow all suggested mitigation practices from health experts.
Please remember: If you are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms, please do not report into our buildings.
Our School Opening Plan contains a contingency plan (Exhibit D in the appendix) with detailed information on instructional schedules, attendance and grading.