Starting Monday, all instruction from Frederick County Public Schools will be virtual.

The announcement this weekend brings to an end all small group instruction and winter sports practices due to COVID-19 metrics, according to a news release from FCPS.

“Teachers may still use their classrooms to provide instruction,” according to the release. “Staff may access buildings as needed. Telework is encouraged if possible. Students who need the internet to access remote classes will still be permitted in school buildings.”

COVID-19 numbers have increased in both the county and state over the last week. In Frederick County, the positivity rate is over 11 percent and more than 200 additional cases of COVID-19 were reported between Saturday and Sunday.

The metrics will also impact the implementation of the FCPS hybrid model. Updates on the model are expected later in the week.

FCPS started the first semester of the school year in full virtual mode on Aug. 31 and there has been much back and forth about how and when to send students back to school safely over the past several months.

The hybrid model, which would entail groups of students attending school in-person on different days, was set to begin at the start of the second semester on Jan. 28.

On Dec. 23, FCPS pushed the scheduled start of its winter sports season from Jan. 4 to Jan. 19, if health metrics allowed.

FCPS spokespeople were unavailable for further comment on Sunday.

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(31) comments

Jim Hartley

New preprints from the UK support the FCPS decision to go/remain virtual. The new strain that is taking over there and is spreading in the US is both more transmissible and also more transmissible to kids, both ages 0-9 and 9-19. Anecdotally no difference in severity, and the vaccines will probably protect. But hospitals and nursing homes will see increasing cases in coming months, both from the new strain ("B.1.1.7") and from holiday exposures. Take extra care.

vodalone

Indoor dining at restaurants in the county is causing the big uptick in numbers. Went out Saturday and driving by the chain restaurants and privately owned places and saw way too many cars in the parking lots. It's the only place you're allowed to remove your face covering indoors, makes no sense to me.

pdl603

I suggest a logo change for FCPS. Instead of the star rising from left it should be declining from the left.

NewMarketParent

I must color myself shocked that this completely predictable thing happened. FCPS, still want to send kids back to school in person?

FcpsAdmin2

This is the latest example of FCPS's failure to plan. Other school districts have implemented responsible plans for safe in-person learning with appropriate mitigations and metrics. FCPS has not. The fact that Alban waited until Sunday to announce this decision which she made days ago highlights their incoherence. Meanwhile, no one is available to comment. Nice.

KellyAlzan

i wrote on these comments back when it was announced that schools would open...that opening up was very foolish and risky.

the schools were open,

and frederick co has the 2nd highest number of corona cases,

hmmmm..............

bpswp

Those who argue that there is no evidence that being in school increases the infection rates for children are forgetting that these children can transmit the virus to the adults in charge. Who will teach the students of a class when the teacher is ill, Co-Vid or not, and there are no substitute teachers to fill in? Visit a middle or high school during class changes. There is no way to protect teens or adults during these times, and unlike small, elementary, private school classes, there is no way to keep a class of 30+ six feet apart. And yes, there are K classes in FCPS of 30 students.

KellyAlzan

bus driver gets sick. goes home, passes it to family. goes to a restaurant, passes it to others. goes to fuel his/her car at the gas station, touches the gas handle, passes it to others.

cafe workers gets sick. same thing. passes it to other teachers. kids get it. and pass it to their grandparents and relatives.

should never have opened.

find the stories reporting the decision to open. you'll see my comments in disagreement.

NewMarketParent

@KellyAlzan

Same. I have never disagreed with a decision more than the one FCPS made to bring kids back. Adults are supposed to know better.

KellyAlzan

Frederick county schools should never have opened. Frederick county’s covid Numbers are through the roof. 2nd highest in the state. Schools are nothing but a super spreader.

mgoose806

Private school anyone?

jth7100

Frayou, private school numbers have nothing to do with private schools. There's no evidence that you have to justify exposing children and staff (which many people do). Cite your evidence or don't make fraudulent claims about kids' safety.

Frayou

Should not be surprising. Politicians knew they would not be able to control the masses of thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years. So now they go after controlling the public schools. Unfortunately the kids will continue suffering, not necessarily medically by contracting the virus. Parents need to take the politicians to court. There are no statistics to justify locking down schools. To the contrary, schools have shown they can control the virus within the system which private schools have shown can be done. The issue is, there has to be a will to do so.

LJF0929

Do you know any private schools with 44,000 students? Go ahead and try to work that out! And private schools have classes cancelled all the time across grade levels. Remember what you're paying for with private schools is much smaller class sizes - so they're already in a much better position to manage systems than a large school district. Too bad our fellow country mates do not want to participate in wearing masks and keeping get togethers to a minimum. We're simply paying the price for the irresponsible citizens.

Frayou

We're simply paying the price for the irresponsible citizens. Agree.

fnpreader123

Maryland Catholic schools have about 44,000 students this year. I'm not sure if they are all open, but my boys are in full-time classrooms. One of them has almost 30 kids in their class, which isn't unusual this year because a lot of new kids came in. Been open all school year, my kids went back end of September, so far, so good.

shiftless88

Please list ways that kids will continue suffering in some way that is not just a made-up societal goal that should be re-thought. Kids survived and thrived for tens of thousands of years without formal instruction. I think our kids can survive and thrive while missing a year.

patomd969

FCPS students returning to in-person classes in 2021, winter, spring and fall? Don't count on it!

MrSniper

This is so sad & frustrating. It doesn’t have to be this way. Other places respected their lockdowns...now they can reopen safely. We all wanted the same thing...a return to normal. At least half of us wouldn’t make the temporary sacrifices necessary (including in my own home, sigh).

LJF0929

Absolutely! Australia is a prime example of a country with citizens that made the sacrifice - all of them - and now they get to return to normal!

jth7100

Beyond obvious.

jth7100

As I have stated long ago, schools will not be reopening until next year, maybe. The case numbers are worse, the vaccine roll-out has been brought to the public by the letters F & U. Driving through Market St. last night, people are doing their very best to spread the virus as long as possible. It will not change in the next 3-4 months for the better.

vodalone

If the new administration can hit the ground running and improve vaccine production and distribution, then kids could go back to school last quarter meaning May or so.

MD1756

With the world (7.8+ billion people) waiting for vaccines, I suspect the production rate is independent of our government's actions. Distribution within the U.S. is more likely to be affected by government actions.

PurplePickles aka L&M

Agreed...schools/children are last on people's priority list when they should be the first.

I don't get how we are okay with the bars and restaurants being open and okay with the schools being closed? We value the wrong things in this country don't we?

When Md. bars and restaurants are a higher priority than schools, everyone loses | COMMENTARY

It has been demonstrated across the globe that there is no pattern between schools reopening and an increase in COVID-19 infection rates. But bars and restaurants have shown to be linked to outbreaks, and our governor continues to push for them to remain open. Why are Marylanders tolerating this disconnect?

Let’s be clear: If COVID-19 numbers keep increasing and districts cannot implement their plans, families should direct their frustration at the governor, not the school districts.

When will Governor Hogan start governing Maryland with our families and children in mind?

https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/op-ed/bs-ed-op-1228-covid-hogan-20201228-sodp2hvq35cn5i3ibegw6r3yau-story.html

vodalone

I agree there is still too much indoor dining and too many bars open in the country, state, and county. One huge disadvantage to dealing with a crisis like this is statehood, every state sets its own rules. Some take federal guidelines more seriously, so don't.

shiftless88

Heck, even the leader of our government has never taken his own guidelines seriously.

benhem612

"We" are not ok with bars and restaurants being open to indoor dining. Some people created a huge stink about it and are the same ones raising a huge fuss about opening schools and ignoring that Frederick's cases of COVID are skyrocketing.

HappySeller2014

Smart, smart move. Responsible and prudent decision. FCPS schools will be lucky to get to the hybrid model by April, and hopefully the vaccine will be readily available to the public within 90 to 120 days. Maybe wrap up the school year in May and June in-person? Our fingers are crossed.

Our family with FCPS children in no rush. Virtual FCPS learning been going just fine, and most of our kids' teachers are trying hard. What they are missing or struggling to understand, we as parents have been stepping in and stepping up.

2021 starting out on right foot at FCPS.

PurplePickles aka L&M

It was the only "Logical" decision they could make right now given how illogically we have handled our priorities so.....

LJF0929

[thumbup]

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