The Frederick County Board of Education passed several motions Wednesday night that will impact students and their ability to have in-person learning for the remainder of the school year.

The first states that social distancing at the elementary level will be reduced from six feet to three feet, per recent guidance that was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The board also discussed expanding the current hybrid learning model to four days a week at the elementary level and bringing back more students who want to switch over from their current all-virtual model.

Frederick County Public Schools Superintendent Terry Alban reiterated to board members that there would be challenges with this switch, including providing transportation and spacing out students while they're eating lunch. According to the CDC, students should maintain six feet of social distancing while eating with their masks off.

The board eventually voted to pass the motion, however, and FCPS staff members have been given until May 1 to figure out the details of the transition. It is likely elementary students will begin coming into school buildings four days a week beginning May 3.

Lunch procedures are likely to vary depending on the school — some may use outdoors spaces and classrooms, for example — and it is also possible students may have to change teachers for the remainder of the school year depending on if families decide to switch learning models with the newly adopted protocols.

Alban pointed out that some families who are currently attending school two days a week may not choose to come in for four days.

"It's not going to look the same at every school because families will make different choices and the capacity at different schools is different," she said.

Details of how the new model will work are likely to be provided individually by schools over the next two-and-a-half weeks.

The board also voted to receive a plan from FCPS in June on what operations will look like for the fall, with the understanding that things could change depending on the state of the pandemic. 

"If the numbers change, we always have the right to change. I'm just asking that their plan be prepared and then we either go for it or we don't," said board member Brad Young, who made the motion.

Finally, in an unexpected move, the board voted to allow all high school seniors to attend school in-person for one last day together. The official last day of school for seniors is May 25. It is unclear whether seniors will come in that day or a different date. 

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill

(7) comments

lcarleen

Last was just a test as I’ve never posted before...

My question is how it was voted as approved. The motion was denied just prior to discussing the state of Sabillasville Elem, how and why, with only 6 weeks left for school, did this get approved!

lcarleen

[sneaky]

Just Wondering

My thought is that some of these individuals will not be re-elected to the board. They have not handled this situation well at all.

Crab0721

My question is that how can you expect students and staff members not to catch COVID-19 or possibly bring it home to their family and friends when not every Adult is vaccinated either because they don't want to get the vaccine or they are having a hard time setting up appointments to get it. Also the vaccine is NOT available for kids at this time. You all also should of had a better idea of how you were going to try and make things happen before you made any decisions. I am guessing because you don't have to worry about your kids or family because you have money to keep your kids safe. So that leaves other people who don't have a option to keep their kids home or drop them off or send them to private school in a bad spot. Also what happened to checking temperatures before entering the building?

Junipermoth

Agreed. 4 days and 3 feet but teachers still have to stay 6 feet. Some parents will probably opt to keep their kids home now. With a virus that spreads through the air, adding more people into a space is the opposite of safe and I don’t understand how schools are going to pull this off.

cegrese

Seriously disturbed at this decision

FrederickFan

This meeting was incredibly confusing. The discussion was all over the place. A decision was made with no idea how it will work out or be implemented. Disappointed in Brad Young and Sue Johnson who just didn't care about the details or how this will happen in two weeks. Seems like a total mess.

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