The Frederick County Board of Education on Thursday rescinded its moves to implement 3 feet of social distancing and expand the hybrid model to four days a week at elementary schools.

The board met for a special meeting after receiving stark pushback from employee unions regarding the previous decisions to bring back more elementary school students starting May 3.

Since the board made the decisions on April 14, it has received a vote of no confidence from the Frederick County Administrative and Supervisory Association (FCASA), and all three employee unions filed a class-action grievance against the board, claiming there was a violation of a Memorandum of Understanding related to instruction amid the pandemic.

The current MOU was finalized in February between the board and all three employee associations.

It states, among other things, that 6 feet between students and employees must be maintained, and the only way the agreement can be voided is if all emergency protocols related to COVID-19 are lifted. If not, the MOU is set to be in place until June 30.

Board member Brad Young said during Thursday's meeting that he was supporting the motions out of respect for Frederick County Public Schools administrators and teachers.

"I'm doing it with the hope that ... they truly want to get as many kids back and ... will work starting today and tomorrow to figure out the best ways to do that," Young said.

He also reiterated that the board must be committed to bringing in students five days a week for the next school year.

Board member Liz Barrett said there is no doubt that the board and FCPS employees have the same desire to get students back in school buildings.

“I don’t see from anything that we’ve received that we don’t have shared goals here in terms of getting as many students back as possible, so that’s what needs to happen in a safe way," she said.

After the board rescinded its original decision, board member David Bass moved to authorize the superintendent to engage the employee associations in discussions to revise the MOU "to pursue our shared goal that as many students as practicable can attend in-person instruction as soon as possible this school year."

“I think this is the motion that should have been made before. I like this motion I will absolutely support it," said board Vice President Karen Yoho. "We do have shared goals. Teachers want nothing more than to have students back in the class and to do it safely and collaboratively is the way to go.”

Bass put forth all three motions during Thursday's meeting after originally voting to expand the hybrid model on April 14. He said in an email that it became clear to him over the past week that the original decisions did not adhere to what had been negotiated in the MOU.

Moving forward, Bass said he hopes the board is able to work collaboratively with the employee associations to bring back more students before the end of the school year.

"On reflection, it was clear to me that my motion [on April 14] did not in fact adhere to the MOU that we have in place at this time," he said. "I do hope that continued CDC guidance will help us consider whether any modifications could be agreeable to all parties. But this must be done in a collaborative manner that demonstrates respect for our staff members."

Board President Jay Mason said in a phone call that he is hoping negotiations on how to move forward will be finalized by next week. He also made it clear the board is not being controlled by the unions.

The student member of the board, Mia Martinez, did not support rescinding the decision to implement 3 feet of social distancing at elementary schools.

"I did not support the first motion because I wanted to make it clear that students should be back in schools wherever possible," Martinez said in a text message. "I respect our administrators' concerns, which is why I supported the other two motions, but I still believe students should be back in schools."

FCTA and FCASA leadership seemed pleased with the board's actions.

"We were hoping that ... [the board] would return to the collaborative process we've used to solve problems and keep our students and staff safe so far this year," said Missy Dirks, president of FCTA. "When you solve problems and work together collaboratively ... when you involve the people who are actually doing the work to help with the problem-solving, you always get a better result."

She added that FCTA's and the other associations' pushback has never been about not wanting to bring back students but rather about logistical issues and the board's violation of the MOU.

Dirks and Amy Schwiegerath, president of FCASA, said they are open to bringing back more students before the end of the school year if it can be done safely.

"[The board] asked us to work to the best of our abilities to bring more students into school buildings. All three employee groups had impediments that needed resolution prior to bringing additional students into school buildings," Schwiegerath said. "We've had conversations with our leadership to work towards solutions. With those solutions, it is feasible to bring additional students into the building."

When asked about the class-action grievance filed against the board, Schwiegerath said FCASA will be withdrawing its filing. Dirks said FCTA is working to resolve the matter. 

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill

(75) comments

phydeaux994

***Vacancy on school board's ethics panel*** here ya go Happy, your chance to get rid of some of these incompetent people.

mcrider

The truth of the matter is.....

https://apple.news/AENb4iF92TqKDoeqz7m5lCg

huskycats

Just be thankful you don't live in Virginia. Evidently children are no longer allowed to be smart.

phydeaux994

????

HappySeller2014

Huh ???

bosco

Meanwhile, illegal immigrants are getting in person schooling in San Diego:

https://dailyuknews.com/us-news/migrant-children-in-san-diego-get-in-person-classes-while-us-school-kids-stuck-at-home/#:~:text=Migrant%20children%20in%20San%20Diego%20get%20in-person%20classes,500%20minors%20who%20arrived%20from%20Texas%20and%20

FrederickFellow

And what's that got to do with this story?

bosco

If in person schooling is OK for illegals, why not citizens.

phydeaux994

Many people in Frederick County have Teacher Bashing, and Education Bashing in general, as a favorite hobby. I don’t get it. What are you unhappy about? What would you change to make it better? Are Frederick County kids failing in College? I think Teachers are doing a great job of getting the kids ready for life.

HappySeller2014

Nah, not a hobby. Just a repetitive byproduct of viewing incompetence on the part of many in our local educational leadership community.

God I miss the 1980s. No Child Left Behind and participation trophies had not been invented yet. And helicopter parents were still in their airport hangers.

pdl603

[thumbup][thumbup]

AOC

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

phydeaux994

Yeah, you miss the 80’s and the 50’s and all the good ol’ days. I graduated HS in 1958 and our kids in the 80’s and our grandkids starting in 2013 and continuing and I know that our kids and grandkids got and are getting a much better education than I did. So what exactly is your beef with the Teachers? Be specific. We have a daughter who is an 8th grade English Teacher and a daughter in law who is an Elementary School Principal who work their buns off. I can’t count the weekends our daughter brought the kids out for us to watch while she graded 80 or 90 essays she had assigned or incurred the wrath of a Parent because she would not recommend their child for AP classes in High School. And are helicopter parents worse than no parent participation? No Happy, I say it’s a lousy hobby, and you can’t list the incompetence. In this case the Unions weren’t objecting to the Boards wishes for the kids, they were objecting to the Boards unilateral decision that they was counter to the MOU. So make your list Happy, I’m waiting.

HappySeller2014

Phy, your trigger mechanism keeps on going off. You need to slow down and ready my posts.

I clearly state, repeatedly, I have concerns with the local educational leadership community. I have NEVER gone after teachers. I have relatives, neighbors and friends here in Frederick County who are teachers.

Slow down, take a breath, and closely READ my posts Phy. I am not making a list for you buddy. You need to improve your reading and comprehension skills of my posts Phy.

Helicopter parents AND NO parent participation are twin evils. Both terrible. You cannot compare nor rank these two Phy...they both terrible for children.

HappySeller2014

I will give you credit Phy. About three years ago I commented about an article in the FNP which had a big picture of teachers picketing the new FCPS administration building downtown. Everyone was smiling and happy in the pic, like they were at a college tailgate or pool party.

Terrible optics. And I called out the teachers and the union on it in a bunch of posts, and many other folks agreed. If you are complaining about raises and the school budget, you cannot look like you are enjoying a street festival at the beach.

But other than this incident, teachers have NEVER incurred any negative comments on my behalf. But, in this case, the teachers were just being strategically stupid, and much of the public figured it out.

phydeaux994

I read all your posts. I did not see one specific allegation that gives a reason for your calling anyone incompetent. What are your credentials that allow you to make such a judgement?? It seems to me you’re bashing the entire Education system since 1980. A list of your reasons for making that claim. Those are serious charges you’re making. And who specifically are you charging? Names????

phydeaux994

https://www.niche.com/k12/search/best-school-districts/s/maryland/

HappySeller2014

Phy, you crack me up. You do not need creds to call out incompetence. You keep on wanting me to make lists or give names. If after all this time, and everyone's posts, you aren't figuring out all of the problems going on around this subject matter area, neither the good Lord nor I gonna be able to help you.

phydeaux994

Yeah, sure Happy. We’re surrounded by families with kids in FCPS and a couple teachers too. I haven’t heard anyone calling anybody incompetent except you and a few of your malcontents. If you can’t put up one iota of reasonable evidence to back up your complaints I believe you’re the buffoon. Peace.✌️😷

momof3!

Last time I checked approx. 60% of our students couldn't get into FCC without taking a non credit remedial math and English class. I don't blame teachers, I blame No Kid Left Behind, it is causing the dumbing down of society. IMO

HappySeller2014

If that is true, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, FCPS is failing the Frederick County and City communities in a HUUUUUUGE fashion.

I wonder how many of these newly elected FCPS Board members have actually stepped inside a physical school building of any sort since last November when they were elected? The FNP and this article's author should file a FOIA request for ALL FCPS Board member's calendars to shine some light on how actively engaged, or not, these Board members are with the school teachers, students, parents and administrators.

Or, are these Board members just meeting a few times every month waffling on everything and unable to be productive?

Their calendars would speak volumes.

Hayduke2

Failing huh. One child of mine graduated college a little over a year ago with 3.68 GPA, have two children graduating shortly with GPA's of 3.7 and 3.92. Kudos to FCPS for their education. Go be bitter elsewhere.

phydeaux994

👍👍👍

HappySeller2014

Hayduke2, some brawny boneheaded Virginia farming boys I graduated with in high school are the smartest and most successful people I know. Financially, emotionally, and civically. And I know many "Drs." who tout their credentials and GPA but have possess as much success and common sense as the rocks in my backyard.

Glad your kids have good GPAs. Mine do also. My children take credit for their own successes, and rightfully so.

Where are your kids going to college? What are their majors? GPAs are just a number, which is why I do not tout mine back in the day or my children's. I just look at how successful we are.

I have never placed my GPA on my resume. Never have. Never will. It is just a number. And it certainly DOES NOT measure the strength and proficiency of those teaching me. Do you know how many GPAs these days are inflated over 4.0, and how many kids these days are simply passed up the grade levels who cannot even read or write?

Come on. We need better proof of teacher success than your kids' GPAs. For every family like yours, I can find families in Frederick whose kids are all failing with GPAs of 1.0...should they be blaming it on the teachers? Ridicuolous argument.

If anything, make yourself look smart for what appears to be raising good kids. No one can argue with that Hayduke2. But you need to frame your argument right.

Hayduke2

Nonsense- you frame your argument from personal experience and vague accusations, more emotional than factual.

Crab0721

How about blaming the parents!! Not the schools. It's the parents who complained and now they have to face the consequences!!

Hayduke2

Spot on phy...

HappySeller2014

Hilarious that the student member of the Board was the only representative that did not support the motion to recind the previous motion. And Brad Young abstained.

Youngest one in the room the only one to have a backbone. Kudos to the student representative.

What a circus.

mgoose806

Time for a new school board.

HappySeller2014

Who in their right mind would trust these buffons to perform assertive, substantial, thoughtful, meaningful and detailed oversight over next year's FY 2021-2022 $700M+ FCPS operating school budget???

[crying]

HappySeller2014

Last time I checked, if you stand for nothing, you fall for everything. Just now playing out in real time folks here in Frederick County.

Look at Sabillasville Elementary over the past two years. Now this recent five day about face kerfuffle. Might as well be whipping children and parents around like a kite in a stiff breeze.

Just six weeks left until summer vakay. When you try to please everyone you help no one.

This Board's willingness to stand behind anything is a futile as a double leg amputee, and this Board has the backbone of the wriggly worms on my driveway after a Springtime shower. And as for decisionmaking capability, this Board ranks up there with Elmer Fudd and Neville Chamberlain.

HappySeller2014

My apology in advance if I confused anyone with the Neville Chaimberlain reference. I learned about him in 8th grade in Virginia public schools in the 1980s.

I have a feeling 80% of FCPS graduates have probably never heard of him, much less know the meaning of "appeasement" or the underlying factors that led to WWII.

FrederickFan

The elected BOE members who voted for a fuller opening of schools are entirely to blame for this flip flop. They made a decision without knowing or considering the implications of their decision. Worse, they basically didn't care. Superintendent Alban advised them of the language these same people had agreed upon with the unions. They ignored it. Didn't care. Now it bites back not just at them but the whole community. This mess is the result of four board members who voted without thinking - Brad Young, Sue Johnson, David Bass, and Liz Barrett. So much for teaching students critical thinking skills.

HappySeller2014

This Frederick County School Board is the biggest joke in Maryland.

I betcha they still will not have things straightened out by the beginning of NEXT school year.

I used to get my waffles from Waffle House. I can get them for free now just reading about this looney bin and circus.

This is what Frederick County deserves for electing bona fide idiots to this Board last November. Could not beat themselves out of a paper bag with the instructions written on the inside with a Sharpie.

Between this Board, the unions, and FCPS management, it amazes me how anyone is actually reading and writing at an acceptable level by the time they graduate high school. I still often find kids around here who need to pull out their phone calculator to give me correct change on a simple purchase around here...

Hayduke2

Go launch some balloons 😀

HappySeller2014

You trying to get me arrested Hayduke2???

[beam]

caffeine

The BOE should never excluded the teachers and administrators from the decision to deviate from the existing MOU. It is a contract.

Additionally, it is disturbing that people on the board are participating in framing our educators as unwilling or uninterested in getting our kids back to school.

These are people who have deduced their careers to our kids and who would like nothing more than to have them all back, safely, as soon as reasonably possible.

We all have the shared value of wanting what's best for our kids. Some of us may believe in different approaches than others. That should not prompt people like Brad Young to say, things liken ""I really hope teachers also want what's best for students." What does that serve?

He should consider another occupation if he has s little respect for the FCPS teaching community.

Our BOE should do a better job of disagreeing with educators without vilifying them for political points.

Aslan19

FCPS Teacher and Admin Unions (those who actually run the unions, not necessarily the whole rank and file) have spanked the people they have put into office because the BoE did not toe the line stating that being in schools is "unsafe". Yes, there is an MOU between the parties, and the unions probably would have won their lawsuit. However, that doesn't change the fact that the real losers here are the kids who need to be educated

phydeaux994

But the teachers must be alive to educate them. Why couldn’t the BoE just have approached them with their proposal?

patomd969

I'm so glad that grocery store workers aren't as thin-skinned as teachers. If so we'd be starving to death. I don't expect any return to normal in Frederick County Public Schools ever. The flu has been around for years and so will the Covid and its variants. No offense to all teachers because some of them truly enjoy teaching. My ill-feelings are to those living in fear, not of giving the virus to the children, but selfishly of getting it themselves.

louisianagirl71105

My goodness; not wanting to catch or transmit a deadly disease is selfish? Covid isn't poison ivy or pink eye; it can be fatal. Choose your words more carefully.

marinick1

Go ahead and live in fear, louisianagirl; it's your right.

Dwasserba

[thumbup]louisianagirl

threecents

Patomac, I disagree. I think this is our chance to eradicate Covid, and we don't want to blow it. Flu viruses uniquely go through a process called reassortment that allows them to mutate drastically (genetic shift), and they appear to have a much more significant animal reservoir. And we don't have 90+% effective flu vaccines. Eventually, I think we will be able to end flu, but this is our chance to stop Covid.

gabrielshorn2013

I have to disagree three. We don't have enough evidence yet to make that conclusion. We still don't know all the animal reservoirs yet, not the full protective period of the vaccines. Denmark slaughtered all their farmed mink because it was found that they harbored SARS-CoV-2. How many others are out there? Albert Bourla of Pfizer announced that an additional jab will probably needed for their vaccine. Therefore I remain hopeful, but unsure.

threecents

Sure, it is possible there are animal reservoirs, but as I said, we do have a good chance of wiping out the virus, and it that chance is now, whether or not you believe it.

threecents

I don't doubt that we will get boosters for years to come, but if we can eliminate the spread of the virus to people, it will limit its chances to mutate to evade the vaccines and to spread into different host species. Whether we are successful is not predictable, but this is clearly the chance to stop the virus.

gabrielshorn2013

What don't I believe three? Big vaccine supporter here. What i said is that we don't have the data yet required to support the conclusions you were making. I am hopeful, but need the data.

Crab0721

[lol][rolleyes] the flu is not as deadly as Covid! Plus you don't have long term health problems from getting the Flu! Teachers can teach from anywhere so there is a big difference between them and grocery store workers!!

gabrielshorn2013

The current circulating strains of the flu are not as deadly as the current strain of SARS-CoV-2. However, 1he 1917 H1N1 flu certainly was, if not more so. We have no guarantee that such a virulent strain will not reappear.

vodalone

While any teachers or staff who wanted a vaccine have had a chance to get it, changing things up now with about 6 weeks of school left makes no sense. Let things play out over the summer and hopefully by August all kids will be back in the classroom.

threecents

Voda[thumbup]

threecents

Why can't we all just get along??

Kville

When the teachers union tells the Board of Ed to jump, all they do is ask 'How high?'

marinick1

That's what the Apple Ballot does, Kville. Most BoE members owe their election to FCTA.

phydeaux994

If the Board had gone to the Union up front with their proposal in a good faith effort to make the change it may have turned out differently. But they went behind their backs and violated a legally negotiated Contract. If the Board was allowed to do this once the whole negotiation process would become meaningless, they could do it again. The Board was wrong, the Union had to do it to preserve the process.

KarlBickel

[thumbup]

Hayduke2

phy[thumbup]

PeteRefer

Cracked under pressure.... sad :(

Crab0721

They would have lost anyway!!!

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] They did, PeteRefer. Most BoE members owe their election to FCTA's Apple Ballot.

Hayduke2

Did the right thing, admirable...

sarah9

This back and forth is ridiculous, and this entire situation was completely foreseeable and preventable. Yes, the board should have absolutely worked with the unions to update the MOU before just voting willy-nilly to go 4 days a week. But the unions should have also worked with the board to update the MOU instead of filing the class-action suit. This infighting does not serve students well. My kid was looking forward to going to school 4 days a week and is going to be so disappointed.

geotracker9

Either the Union doesn't believe in science (now proves that 3 feet is acceptable with masks/hand washing) or they are just mad the Board didn't come to them first. Either way, they're thinking only about themselves and not the kids.

Crab0721

How are they not thinking about the kids? They are doing what is best for them and their employees!

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] Agreed, geotracker9 [smile]

duffy5x

Nor did you...

duffy5x

Clearly, you didn’t read.

Hayduke2

Actually geo, you are the one not thinking about the kids and teachers...

Crab0721

[thumbup]

louisianagirl71105

Teaching students in masks, seated three feet apart is one thing; being forced to eat in a classroom with unmasked classmates, three feet apart, is another. You know not of what you speak.

lcarleen

[thumbup]

PurplePickles aka L&M

[thumbup][thumbup]

Izzy

It's interesting that a previous comment referenced student's ability to read....when clearly you (and many of the other individuals who have posted) have not completely read or comprehended the various FNP articles related to the reopening. Most FCPS employees want all students back in buildings 5 days per week and on a regular schedule. The BOE's motion to send elementary students back 4 days per week at the beginning of May was a clear example of failure to think, plan, and collaborate before taking action. I would love to see our BOE join a school when they are opening during a regular school year. Unfortunately, I have only had BOE members visit my school during the first week we welcomed students back via the Hybrid model. How many of the BOE and public can accurately speak to the tremendous undertaking it is to open a school, let alone open a school during a pandemic.

So geotrakcer9....take some time to visit an elementary school. Better yet, volunteer at an elementary school. I would certainly welcome any of the individuals carelessly tossing negative comments at my school. Selfishness, fear, lack of belief in science, not thinking about the kids....I doubt you would have the same opinion if you invested a bit of your time to actually gain firsthand knowledge.

louisianagirl71105

Don't hold your breath, Izzy. The first day visits were photo ops. The BOE just recently opened to the public, to the parents of the students we are required to teach. Why would they put themselves at risk to visit the students? It's so much easier to pass judgment on what we do from the board room.

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