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Wednesday, January 6, 2021 Edition 8
A Message from Dr. Terry Alban
Happy New Year! Across the world, 2021 was ushered in with great hope and anticipation of brighter days ahead. I firmly believe that we will experience these brighter days — just not YET. Some of the most challenging health metrics of the pandemic are upon us, and most data continues to trend in the wrong direction.
Our vigilance in following the medical guidance to reduce the spread of the virus remains critically important. Wear face coverings, maintain social distance, wash hands frequently and avoid social gatherings beyond immediate family members. These are some of the basic actions we all can take to slow growth and reverse the current trend of the spread of COVID-19. Despite our “pandemic fatigue,” reducing the spread is essential to enabling our students to return to classrooms.
On Sunday, January 3, FCPS published a FindOutFirst informing the community of my decision to suspend small group in-person instruction and winter sports practices. The decision was based on multiple metrics including:
The decision to suspend small group in-person learning was painful, as I have witnessed the positive impact of small group instruction on our students who are most challenged in a virtual learning environment. The term “suspend” was carefully chosen as I intend to resume small group in-person instruction and sports practices when positive data trends are evident.
The current health metrics are alarming; health experts warned of a post-holiday surge and the trend data supports this prediction. The spread of the virus in our community impacts our schools. The effective use of mitigation strategies (face masks, physical distancing, etc.) enabled FCPS to keep the number of positive cases and outbreaks in our schools reasonably low. Even so, as positive cases rose in the community, we observed a rise in our schools as well.
FCPS will release a dashboard on our website next week that will communicate the number of positive cases in FCPS, as well as, by school. The data will provide important context for families as we continue to plan for the transition to the hybrid model.
Due to the negative trend in our health metrics, the plan to implement a hybrid learning model is being delayed. FCPS will now have teachers return to the buildings on Wednesday, January 27, with students returning on Tuesday, February 16. In this scenario, February 3 and February 10 will be asynchronous learning days.
I feel confident about our hybrid model and appreciate that we will still offer a full virtual model option to our families. By splitting the students who will return to school into two cohorts, our schools will run at approximately 30 percent of our normal capacity. We just need the right health metrics in place to make this happen.
I will continue to monitor the data daily and consult with our health department officials to guide decisions. If we do not see positive trends in our data later this month, I will delay the implementation of the hybrid model again and bring teachers back into the buildings on Wednesday, February 10, with students returning on Monday, March 1. Please continue to watch for updates in the days and weeks ahead. In this scenario, February 17 and February 24 will be asynchronous learning days.
After nearly a year of grappling with this pandemic, it is important that we all embrace the HOPE that 2021 brings. With increased availability of vaccines and with each of us adhering to health and safety guidelines, we will reduce spread, reverse the negative trend and return our students to our school buildings. This is my expectation, and I know you share in this same hope!
Thank you for all you have done for students this year!
Video: Preparing for a Hybrid Reopening with Dr. Alban and Mia Martinez, the Student Member of the Board of Education of Frederick County
Update: FCPS suspends small group instruction and winter sports practices
Video: Concurrent Teaching Model with Executive Director of System Accountability Dr. Jamie Aliveto and Windsor Knolls Middle teacher Tasha Brown
Monday, January 11:
Dr. Alban releases her recommended FY22 budget
Friday, January 15:
FCPS Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Video Release
Monday, January 18:
Schools and offices closed. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday observance
Tuesday, January 26
End of First Semester and Term 2
Thursday, January 28
Second Semester and Term 3 begins
Wear a Face Covering:
Video: The COVID Cover Up
FCPS Face Covering Guidance in School Buildings
Video: Safe Schools: Cleaning and Disinfecting
Video: Safe Schools: Ventilation and More
Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Dashboard
- Schools Data
MD COVID Alert Service
Superintendent's Off the Cuff Blog
December 23: The Gift of Self-Care
December 17: Unsung heroes: School custodians
Follow Superintendent Alban on Twitter
FCPS In a Minute: SHIP hygiene drive, student pages recognized
Tweet of the Week: Sugarloaf Elementary student combines joy of nature and creating videos
Frederick County Public Schools
191 S. East Street
Frederick, MD 21701