CCPS Reopening FAQs
Questions and Answers: Guidelines for Students Returning to School during the Hybrid Setting
Return to Hybrid Instruction – January 7
At the January 4, 2021, Board of Education meeting, the Board voted to continue its plans to move forward with a return to the hybrid model of instruction effective Thursday, January 7, 2021. The hybrid plan allows for students to return to in-person instruction two days a week in established cohorts. As a requirement of our plans, students will also continue to receive virtual instruction on days when they are not in school or if students choose to remain in an all-virtual format instead of participating in the hybrid cohorts.
Families will continue to have an option to participate in the hybrid or all-virtual plans. If your plans for your student have changed from when we were previously in the hybrid model, please contact your child’s school to let them know if you haven’t done so already.
We continue to recognize and emphasize the incredible importance of all the safety protocols that must be in place in our schools to best ensure the safety of our students, staff, and our school communities. You can continue to expect communication regarding self-screening symptom reminders. It is very important that everyone does their part to mitigate the spread of COVID and follow all of the best practices of mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing/hand sanitizing frequently so that we may keep everyone healthy and continue to provide educational services to our community. In addition, we will work to update the data dashboards for each school that we had in place when we were previously in the hybrid model by January 13th.
It is important to note as result of the current complexities surrounding COVID-19 and related health concerns, we anticipate that there may be disruptions to learning, which could result in temporary closures of classrooms, programs, or schools as a result. We ask for your patience and understanding as we continually work through these challenges as they arise. You can expect continued communication from your child's school and/or the system throughout.
We would like to thank our teachers, administrators, and staff for their incredible work in rising to, and meeting, the obstacles that are a part of delivering our virtual and hybrid learning and all the associated challenges that have been a part of this time.
We thank you in advance for your flexibility as we continue to work together to support our students.
Please click here if you wish to view the CCPS Reopening and Recovery Plan.
Return to Hybrid Instruction
At last night’s Board of Education meeting, the Board set a target date of Thursday, January 7, 2021, for returning to the hybrid model of instruction if the Maryland Department of Health’s (MDH) metrics are met. The Board will meet on Monday, January 4, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. to review the MDH metrics and determine if a January 7th return is viable.
The approved hybrid plan allows for students to return to in-person instruction two days a week in established cohorts. Students will continue in their cohorts as previously assigned. As a requirement of our plans, students will also continue to receive virtual instruction on days when they are not in school or if students choose to remain in an all-virtual format instead of participating in the hybrid cohorts.
If the metrics are met and schools reopen in the hybrid model, individual schools will be reaching out to parents and students with more information. We continue our collaboration with the Carroll County Health Department and are actively monitoring updates from the Maryland Department of Health, the Maryland State Department of Education, and the Governor.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. As always, the health and safety of our students, staff, and community are our top priority.
Students to Return to Virtual Instruction
At tonight’s Board of Education meeting, the Board made the decision that students will return to full enhanced virtual instruction effective tomorrow, Thursday, November 19. This action is being taken based on the recommendations of the Carroll County Health Department, the rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout the community, the rising positivity rate and number of cases, and the challenges we are facing on a daily basis staffing our schools. The Board will continue to monitor public health metrics and staffing numbers and consider returning to the hybrid model when conditions permit.
The Board determined that some limited or small group instructional programs may continue under the State guidance. Therefore, the Board decided that the Career and Technology Center, identified regional Special Education programs, and Gateway and Crossroads will continue to operate in the hybrid model.
The Board will meet on Wednesday, December 2, to re-evaluate updated public health metrics and staffing numbers.
Throughout the coming days, you will be receiving more information from your school. Please be assured that the school system continues to closely monitor and evaluate the situation. We continue our collaboration with the County Health Department and are actively monitoring updates from the Maryland Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
We recognize the challenges this presents for our families and appreciate your flexibility. We will continue to keep the health and safety of our students, staff, and community as our top priority.
Possible Move to Full Virtual Instruction
At last night’s Board of Education meeting, the Board made the decision to continue with the hybrid model of instruction, including high schools, through Tuesday, November 17. However, based on the recommendations of the Carroll County Health Department, the rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout the community, and the rising positivity rate and number of cases, there is a strong likelihood that the school system will move to full virtual instruction for all grades should the metrics continue to escalate. In addition, this action would be taken because of the need to comply with state guidance on metrics.
The Board of Education will meet next Wednesday, November 18, at 5:00 p.m. to review the updated metrics for that week. If the Board decides to move to full virtual instruction, the change will take effect the next day, Thursday, November 19. Parents and guardians should anticipate that this is a strong likelihood and begin to make plans accordingly.
You will receive a SchoolMessenger email and phone notification informing you of the Board’s decision immediately following the meeting on Wednesday evening. The decision will also be posted on the school system’s website, social media, and CETV Channel 21.
Please be assured that this decision will be made in the best interest of the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. We certainly recognize the challenges everyone is facing and promise to work with you through the concerns, issues, or questions that may arise. We will remain flexible in our efforts to meet the needs of our students and ask for your continued patience and understanding.
Please keep in mind that we all play a role in reducing the likelihood of a coronavirus outbreak in our community. We cannot overstate the importance of practicing these good habits:
- Avoid close contact (6 feet or less for 15 minutes or more) with people who are not in your household.
- Wear face coverings over your mouth and nose when required, and as often as possible in all indoor public spaces or whenever social distancing is difficult.
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds and use sanitizer when you can’t wash.
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home and other environments frequently.
- When planning activities, assess your risk and take recommended precautions or choose not to participate in activities that you feel are not safe for you or your close contacts.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care or testing.
Message to Parents 11/4/20
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with an update regarding the impact of COVID-19. My goal is to continue to provide you updates to important information as we monitor the situation.
MONITORING CASES IN CARROLL COUNTY AND COLLABORATING WITH THE CARROLL COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT:
We continue to be in daily contact with the Carroll County Health Department (CCHD). While the community is experiencing an increase in positive cases, the CCHD has not indicated at this time that this is due to the re-opening of schools. The CCHD is not presently seeing transmission in schools, but recognizes we are likely to see some level of transmission in schools. The health department is monitoring cases and will be advising the Board of Education and me if rates of transmission in schools become a cause for concern. We are still confident in the health and safety measures we have implemented in our schools, but are also monitoring how the external cases have an impact on the internal workings of schools, as we face staffing concerns when teachers and staff are quarantined. We appreciate your flexibility should this have an operational impact on our schools. We will continue to keep the health and safety of our students, staff, and community as our top priority.
HIGH SCHOOL HYBRID BEGINS NOVEMBER 12:
It is still our plan for high school students to return in the hybrid model on November 12. As we enter the winter months and spend more time indoors, it will be even more essential to commit to the fundamental best practices of mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing.
In addition to our current communication practice of informing impacted parents and staff when a person has been identified as being COVID-19 positive or having COVID-like symptoms, we are developing public dashboards that will provide the number of staff and students with active positive COVID-19 cases and the number of staff and students required to isolate based on COVID-like symptoms in each of our schools and facilities. The criteria for COVID-like symptoms are established by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and are communicated to you weekly in our self-screening checklist. One of the challenges we face following the requirements from the MSDE/MDH is that identified COVID-like symptoms regularly present themselves every year such as with the common cold, influenza, seasonal allergies, etc. The dashboard will be updated on a weekly basis. We anticipate that the dashboards will be available by the end of next week.
I commend our parents and our community for the efforts that have been taken so far. I am grateful for our educators and other school staff who have shown compassion, understanding, and resolve during the disruption caused by COVID-19.
Hybrid Opening Update
Posted September 24, 2020
At the September 23rd Board of Education meeting, with ongoing input from the county health department, the Board continued its plans to move forward with a hybrid model of instruction effective Monday, October 19, 2020. The approved hybrid plan allows for students to return to in-person instruction two days a week in established cohorts. As a requirement of our plans, students will also continue to receive virtual instruction on days when they are not in school or if students choose to remain in an all-virtual format instead of participating in the hybrid cohorts.
More information on the hybrid model and assigned cohorts will be communicated in the coming days from your child's school. Families will continue to have an option to participate in the hybrid or all virtual plans. Please click here if you wish to view the CCPS Reopening and Recovery Plan.
We recognize the incredible importance of all the safety protocols that must be in place to best ensure the safety of our students, staff, and the broader Carroll community. Our plans have been reviewed and approved by our local Board of Education, as well as approved by the Maryland State Department of Education. We are also in constant contact with our local health department in monitoring and considering all local health conditions and all the necessary safety protocols to support our plans.
It is important to note as result of the current complexities surrounding COVID-19 and related health concerns, we anticipate that there may be disruptions to learning as a result. We ask for your patience and understanding as we continually work through these challenges as they arise. You can expect continued communication from your child's school and/or the system throughout.
Finally, we would like to thank our teachers, administrators, and staff for their incredible work in rising to and meeting the obstacles that are a part of delivering our virtual learning and all the associated challenges that have been a part of this unprecedented time in education.
We thank you in advance for your flexibility as we continue to work together to support our students.
Update on the Return to School
Posted August 28, 2020
At the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, the Board established October 19, 2020, as the potential date for Carroll County Public Schools to move from enhanced full virtual instruction for students to the approved hybrid model. As you are aware, school is beginning for students on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, using the enhanced full virtual model.
The approved hybrid model brings students back in 2 days per week in a staggered fashion to meet the requirements of Maryland’s stage two for recovery. The ultimate decision on moving to the hybrid model will be based on the Board’s monitoring of key public health metrics and leading indicators in consultation with the Carroll County Health Department. These metrics and leading indicators include the following:
- the weekly rate of COVID-19 community cases per 100,000
- the State of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University positivity rates
- the weekly rate for community COVID-19 deaths, and the number of occupied ICU beds at Carroll Hospital Center.
At Governor Hogan’s press conference yesterday with the State Superintendent of Schools and the Acting Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services at the Maryland Department of Health, discussion took place regarding metrics and the process for gradually reopening Maryland public schools. We are pleased to share that our CCPS Reopening and Recovery Plan, as well as the Board’s action from their August 26 meeting, is very much aligned with the information shared at the press conference.
We feel that it is important to alert you to this information so that you may anticipate the possible move to the hybrid model and plan accordingly for your family. As a reminder, families may continue to have their students participate all virtually. We will notify you when the move to the hybrid model is formally determined. In addition, during the coming days and weeks as we move forward, you will be receiving important informational updates regarding the hybrid model from your child’s school.
We have every confidence in our teachers, administrators, support staff, and central office personnel to be responsive to the needs of our CCPS students and families. Our teachers have been working extremely hard to be prepared to deliver instruction, learn additional skills, and absorb a multitude of information in preparation for the first day of school and beyond.
As a school community, we are attempting something we have never experienced before, but our educators have made amazing progress designing virtual classrooms, learning new technology, and adapting to all aspects of this new way of learning. We ask for your continued patience and flexibility as we begin this new school year.
By working together, we can look forward to the time when our students and staff will return to our schools. Thank you for your understanding and support.
CCPS Reopening Plans for the Fall
Posted July 30, 2020
At last night’s Board of Education meeting, the Board decided that Carroll County Public Schools will open for the 2020-2021 school year on Tuesday, September 8, using the Enhanced Virtual Learning Model for instruction. After months of planning, gathering input and feedback from a wide variety of community stakeholders, and the input and guidance of our state and local health department, this action is being taken as Carroll County, our state, and our country continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school system will continuously work to reach a hybrid model as conditions allow. Unless the state reverts to Stage I, a full review and revisit of this decision will take place no later than the October 14th Board meeting.
The school system will continue to find opportunities to bring in small groups of special education students for in-person instruction, whose parents wish for them to attend, and as we are able. In addition, we will work to provide in-person learning opportunities for Career and Technology Center students. This is another program where in-person learning is especially critical, and where successful mastery, earned credentials, and certifications are dependent upon actual hands-on learning opportunities.
This incremental approach of opening virtually for all, but focusing on a few small groups, can allow us to implement and evaluate our processes for in-person instruction as safely as possible. It can further inform and support our efforts of expanding small groups and lead us to our overall goal of returning as many students as we are safely able to our classrooms and schools. We will continue to safely work through the various logistical details that we know are so important, while also staying in close collaboration with our health department and keeping an eye on local conditions.
During last year’s school closure, CCPS collected feedback regarding virtual learning from students, parents, and educators and has worked to improve the virtual learning experience we will be offering students this fall. In the CCPS Enhanced Virtual Learning Model, students access learning online instead of face-to-face in a school building. They will engage in a combination of real-time virtual instruction, instruction on an individual schedule, and completion of assigned tasks. In addition to regularly scheduled virtual instruction, blocks of student support time will be made available for students and teachers to meet virtually.
The Enhanced Virtual Learning Model differs from the Continuity of Learning format in effect last spring when grades were either Pass or Incomplete. In the 2020-21 school year, CCPS expects rigorous coursework with our standard grading system.
Additional improvements to this model of instruction for the fall include:
- Increased live virtual interactions between students and educators
- A single digital platform for students and parents to access instruction, communication, and feedback
- Robust professional learning opportunities for educators to increase their skill set for teaching in a virtual environment, which includes on-demand professional learning videos and courses for educators
- Ongoing communication and support for students and families in a distance learning environment
- Continued efforts to ensure every child can connect digitally.
Anything short of returning to our traditional way of full in-person teaching and learning will continue to be a disappointment and challenge for all of us. However, CCPS will do everything possible to support our students and families in a virtual environment and hope that we are able to transition to a hybrid in-person model as soon as possible. We will continue to communicate and provide more specific details, and individual schools will begin communicating directly in the coming weeks.