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Montgomery County School Board approves reopening plan

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va5:30 A.M. UPDATE

After a more than 10-hour meeting on July 21, the school board has decided on a back-to-school plan.

Students will go back to school on Sept. 8.

Middle and high school students will have a hybrid program — half of the students will attend school in the morning, and half will attend in the afternoon. Middle and high school students will do virtual learning for the half of the day they are not in school.

Elementary school students will only be in school for half days, either in the morning or afternoon, four days a week.

Masks must be worn by students and teachers at all times.


ORIGINAL STORY

Montgomery County School leaders are outlining what the reopening process will look like for thousands of students, teachers, and staff this fall.

Tuesday afternoon into late Tuesday night, the school board went through different scenarios about what the school year would look like, including notification if there is a case of coronavirus in the school division.

“We know that if a student or a staff member tests positive, we’re already going to be working with the health department that just has to happen,” Director of Student Services Jason Garretson said.

Board members also supported requiring students to wear a mask or face shield during the school day. Some county educators raised concerns about setbacks in the classroom with younger students.

“It really is a change if not next to impossible to keep that mask on the younger students and when learning to read it’s very important to see their mouths and if they’re not forming those letter sounds,” Director of Elementary Education Barbara Whickham said.

Superintendent Mark Miear said he is proud of the work his staff has put in and believes the school board will make the right choice for the division.

“The administrative team has been working hard to do what’s best for students and what’s best for teachers and to make sure we’re adhering to the safety measures recommended to use by the health department,” Superintendent Mark Miear said.

The school board does have the right to change the plans at any time before submitting them to the Department of Education. It is expected to make a decision about the plans Tuesday night.


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