Skip Navigation

News Release: CEO Dr. Goldson Announces Plan to Reopen PGCPS Safely and Responsibly

July 15, 2020
For Immediate Release

CONTACT:
Office of Communications
301-952-6001
communications@pgcps.org

New school year will begin with distance learning for the first two quarters.

UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Today, CEO Dr. Monica Goldson announced her plan to safely and responsibly reopen Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) for the 2020-21 academic year. Following broad input from families, employees and community members, PGCPS will continue distance learning through January 2021. Prince George’s County has been the epicenter of the COVID-19 public health crisis in Maryland. In light of the health disparities in communities that house more than 136,500 students and 20,000 employees, there is a significant public health concern if schools were to reopen this fall for in-person instruction. 

Recently parents, educators and administrators were surveyed about their preferences for the upcoming school year given the ongoing pandemic. Forty-six percent of families expressed their preference to continue the distance learning model implemented in the spring; the percentages of educators and administrators in favor of distance learning exceeded 50 percent.

“During this global pandemic, we cannot ignore the health and safety of our students, parents and educators even while working each day to provide the highest quality teaching, learning and leadership at every school,” said Dr. Goldson. “Our students and families are facing a disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. We recognize that no scenario is perfect or comparable to a traditional school year. While it is a difficult decision to not reopen our school buildings for in-person instruction, it is necessary to keep our students and communities safe.” 

This fall, PGCPS will enhance the distance learning program with enhanced learning software and more live instruction blended with pre-recorded lessons. Student meals will be available for distribution at all schools. The school system will also establish Parent Support Centers throughout the county to assist families with technology support and other aspects of distance learning.

Today’s announcement is an important step forward in providing families with information to help make the best decisions for their children. Dr. Goldson will host a Family & Community Tele Town Hall on Wednesday evening to discuss the plan and hear from stakeholders. A similar event will be held Thursday evening for employees. Both town halls will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Next week, PGCPS will release a report outlining how the school system will support all students, in particular English language learners, those with special needs and youth from families with low-income, during the distance learning phase. A special Board of Education meeting will be held in late July to review the plan.

As during the initial distance learning phase, PGCPS will invest in helping to close the digital divide by providing devices and internet connectivity for families in need. The school system will distribute additional devices prior to the first day of school, Monday, Aug. 31. As part of a new districtwide 1:1 technology initiative, PGCPS aims to equip every student with their own digital device.

PGCPS will continue working with state and local health experts, government partners and the Maryland State Department of Education as information about the pandemic continues to evolve. The school system will adhere to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mandate social distancing and hand washing, require face masks in PGCPS buildings and conduct thorough cleaning and sanitizing procedures.

Reopen PGCPS Plan

Distance Learning Instruction

  • Lessons will be held five days a week. 
  • Lessons will also be broadcast on PGCPS-TV for younger students.
  • Technology will be provided on a 1:1 ratio.

Digital Device Distribution

  • Students will continue using PGCPS-supplied Chromebooks distributed in the spring.
  • Additional Chromebooks will be available for pick-up in the weeks ahead and wifi hotspots will be established.
  • The Connect PGCPS initiative will continue to provide Internet access to families.

Student and Family Supports

  • All schools will serve as meal sites and offer twice-weekly pickups, similar to the model utilized this spring.
  • PGCPS will establish Parent Support Centers throughout the county to assist families with technology support and other aspects of distance learning.

Key Dates

  • Aug. 31 – First Day of School: Distance learning will begin for all grade levels through the end of the second grading quarter in January.
  • Dec. 1-18: Depending on health conditions, PGCPS will offer families the option to begin hybrid instruction at the start of third quarter (February) for the remainder of the school year. 
  • February to June – Second Semester: If possible, PGCPS will deliver hybrid instruction with two days of in-person learning and three days of distance learning. Full-time distance learning would continue for those students who opted in.