by Emily Sianksy ’22
MCPS released its plans on August 4 to have online learning for the entirety of the fall semester. Under the plan that is awaiting final approval by the Board of Education, the school day for high school will be from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m There will be four classes a day with time sectioned out for breaks, lunch, and “dedicated student support.” On Wednesdays, there will be no instruction, as it will be treated as an independent work day.
According to the current plan, every other day high schoolers will have even and odd period classes; each class will meet at least twice a week. For a school like Sherwood that uses fifth period for lunch, MCPS outlined that the sectioned-out period five on Mondays and Thursdays will be used as an additional student support time.
MCPS highlighted the importance of having a day dedicated to student support in the Reimagine, Reopen, Recover document as “students emphasized the need to provide schedules that were balanced and allowed time for work to be completed outside of class.” Students have a time slot dedicated to getting the support and help they need. Online learning is still new to many, and some may need more support than just the hour long class period. MCPS also states that all classes will be on MyMCPS instead of Google Classroom which many teachers have used in the past years.
Along with many disappointments in resuming a “normal” school year, fall and winter sports have also been cancelled. Montgomery County was the first country in Maryland to officially cancel the seasons. Spring sports, if school reopens in person in the spring, could still take place.
The middle school schedule will be similar to high schools with the four class periods a day and even and odd days. Elementary schools will have similar days as well with the same number of breaks and start times. English and math will meet everyday, and history and science classes twice a week for students in grades 1-5.
Although at least half of the year will be different than ever before, MCPS plans to make learning have the same feeling as it would in person. “[MCPS] built on what we learned during the spring to develop a model that will provide a robust and dynamic virtual learning experience for our students. Virtual learning schedules for students align closely with what a student would typically experience in schools,” Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith wrote in a community update.