The Frederick County Public Schools system, working during the past three months of the pandemic with distance learning for children, wanted to end the school year a little early.

It asked the state for a waiver to close on Friday, June 5, but the state board of education said no, that the county had to continue instruction until the planned final day of June 17.

So Superintendent Terry Alban announced a plan that appears to technically comply with the state directive while essentially ending instruction on June 5, as the county wanted to.

To be fair, the final days of any school year are a hodgepodge of work and play, picnics, movies and creative time designed to meet the requirement of a 180-day school year while acknowledging that very little learning goes on in any June.

With the distance learning mandatory, it was always going to be difficult to fill our students’ days as this strange school year winds down. And as long as the teachers have covered all the material in the curriculum, we are OK with relaxing the rules.

Still, the state did say the county had to keep going until June 17. So here is what that will look like under Alban’s plan as sent to teachers, according to a story by News-Post reporter Katryna Perera:

Teachers were to give final assignments for the fourth academic quarter on June 5, and students were expected to complete these and other remaining assignments by Tuesday, June 9. Then the fun begins.

On June 10, students will complete a “reflection activity” that will ask them questions about their distance learning experience and provide the opportunity for feedback and suggestions for teachers.

On June 11, students and families will be able to view progress and grades for the fourth quarter, if a student has opted for a letter grade instead of pass/incomplete. From June 12 to June 17, which is the last day of school, a program entitled “Springboard for Summer and Beyond” will be launched.

In her letter to teachers, Alban wrote: “FCPS leaders have found a way to ensure we provide you with the opportunity for ample training and building proficiency for the next chapter.”

Students and families will be able to continue reviewing distance learning sessions to keep their learning and emotional well-being going over the summer, Alban said, which should be useful.

Alban said in the letter that students will be able to access resources to keep academic skills fresh, explore virtual field trip options and learn strategies to combat stress, among others.

Maybe that is the best ending we could hope for in this truncated, dislocated school year. FCPS seems to have done the best it could considering the difficult circumstance of teaching during a pandemic with enforced social distancing.

Now, the pressure will mount on the school system’s leaders as the fall term approaches. Will we see split schedules, alternate school days, further distance learning in the next year?

If you read the blogs on Education Week, the newspaper for education professionals, you quickly see that no one has a good answer. The guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would almost certainly lead to dividing up the student body in to some kind of split schedule. But it is an answer almost no one likes.

Unfortunately, time is moving forward and the answers are no more clear. But those questions all will need to be answered in the coming weeks. Superintendent Alban and her staff have their work cut out for them.

(12) comments


"(key words recommended not required by law since the CDC is not a government agency)" ... wrong.

from CDC's own website "CDC is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services. View CDC’s Official Mission Statements/Organizational Charts to learn more about CDC′s organizational structure." ... "CDC’s Centers, Institute, and Offices (CIOs) allow the agency to be more responsive and effective when dealing with public health concerns. Each group implements CDC′s response in their areas of expertise, while also providing intra-agency support and resource-sharing for cross-cutting issues and specific health threats."

If that isn't good enough proof here is what's on the Federal Register's page: "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as part of the Public Health Service, is charged with protecting the public health of the Nation by providing leadership and direction in the prevention of and control of diseases and other preventable conditions and responding to public health emergencies. Within the CDC, there are four coordinating centers, two coordinating offices, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Agency URL:

Parent Agency Health and Human Services Department"

Not all federal agencies have regulatory authority and/or law enforcement responsibilities.


Funny quoting the CDC when it fits the doctrine of liberals - there is no way the county or most counties could afford the measures being recommended (key words recommended not required by law since the CDC is not a government agency) anyway protect the impaired immune systems of those in poor health teachers, admin staff, and would imagine very few students with proper masks and cleaning regiments. The rest of the students and school personnel would not wear masks or have to worry about social distancing since the only ones that should be wearing masks are the ones with bad health conditions and that is a strong recommendation from HHS, NIH, CDC, WHO and many other medical health organizations. Healthy people wearing masks serve no purpose any longer it is actually unhealthy to do so. Keep on the pressure with proper hand washing with anti-bacterial soap and use sanitizing gel when needed and have cleaning staff do a total clean every day as they should already being doing with their contracted work obligations.


“... the CDC is not a government agency...”

Yes, it is. It is part of HHS.

Greg F

Timmay....the masks work best when worn by the person who IS sick or with symptoms (or not but infected). That stops 70% of chance of transmission. That's only 30% or less when it's only the non-sick person wearing and sick not wearing. tell me....who wearing the mask makes the most impact? BOTH....when both wear it, that's 98.5% rate drop of transfer of virus. Duh.


Why would you use anti-bacterial soap when it is a virus?

The primary way this is spread is by droplets emitted during person-to-person contact through talking, sneezing, coughing, etc.

Greg F

Good point. I've taken to adding the same alcohol used in hand sanitizers in my liquid soaps. Yeah....they're thinner, but it works better than nothing.!ut/p/a0/FchLDsIgEADQs_QAk6EWsXWHWq6gsJtMsZLwaRD1-uryPXR4Q5fpHVZqoWSKP1v2ufl65BKXJ1Be4B5feEWHbqu0JkKbCzDxw_-PagscPdqzUNNotAApzQH6fhYwKSPhpAd5UTu5H2aBW0rjR3fdF_7vj1s!/

Greg F

Well, here's what we will likely have to live with if things stay as they are....and given now we are already seeing a rise from states already earlier that are seeing increases again....from another news outlet other than Fox which ignores it all: Many states have loosened restrictions that began in March to stop the spread of the virus. But with no vaccine, more people congregating in public places and recent protests for racial justice in major cities, one health expert predicted that the nation's coronavirus death toll will nearly double by September.

"I think right now, most Americans are not ready to lock back down, and I completely understand that. ... I understand people are willing to live alongside this virus. It means that between 800 and 1,000 Americans are going to die every single day," says Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute

"We're going to get another 100,000 deaths by September. So, that's a catastrophic cost," Jha said. "We really do have to try to figure out how to bring the caseloads down from these scary levels."

Greg F're essentially saying timmay that you're fine not following CDC guidelines about helping others by wearing face coverings, masks and distancing? Gee..yeah, if those are liberal ideas, then I'm a flaming liberal. What does that make conservatives who seem to ignore the whole thing? I think we've seen what happens when right wingers take over countries....and red states. The public suffers. Those are some great values.


FNP owners and editors: Why is there a survey on this page about the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi? You are supposed to be neutral in politics.




Missed that one. [ninja]

Greg F

Not if they give equal time....which could be coming or already happened.

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