Dear Prince George’s County Public Schools Community,

As we prepare to resume in-person learning on Tuesday, January 18, I want to express my appreciation to all of you for your understanding and flexibility over these last few weeks. Our temporary shift to virtual learning system-wide was unprecedented among large school districts, but as we can see now, it was a necessary precaution that helped to slow the spread of COVID-19 within our schools. When students return next week, we are layering in additional mitigation measures.

  • Home test kits and KN95 masks will be distributed to all students and staff. One kit containing two tests will be available for each child enrolled in our schools. The distribution will be held at schools and offices. Students will be requested to test weekly in order to return to school the following week. Every Sunday, tests should be taken and results uploaded from January 23 through February 27. The link for uploading will be provided next week. Home test kits will be distributed biweekly until the end of February to facilitate this request.

  • More students will be randomly tested in our weekly pools. We have worked with testing vendors to double the capacity to 20 percent of students.

  • New county and state quarantine rules were implemented with clear guidance on when students can return to school after contracting or being exposed to COVID-19.

  • Staff testing was expanded during virtual learning. All employees regardless of vaccination status were able to get free COVID testing provided by PGCPS due to the difficulty of obtaining tests in the community. Weekly testing of unvaccinated staff will continue.

  • No spectators will be allowed at athletic events through the end of January. Athletes who are not vaccinated will continue to be tested weekly. Starting Tuesday, February 1, attendance at athletic events will be limited to 25 percent of building capacity. 

The Temporary K-6 Virtual Learning Program will conclude Friday, January 28. This program was always designed to be a temporary option in the absence of a vaccine for children ages 5-11. PGCPS does not have permission from the Maryland State Department of Education to go beyond the timeframe established at the beginning of the school year. Each school will facilitate a return to school orientation meeting for our elementary virtual students during the week of January 24th and upon return to school buildings, these students will also receive a home test kit and KN95 mask. 

I understand that families may have concerns about returning due to the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to collaborate with the local and state health departments to assess data and make the best decisions. My goal remains to keep our schools open safely and I believe that we can do so for the duration of the 2021-22 academic year by following the science and proven mitigation strategies: Wear a mask. Stay home if you are sick. Complete the permission slip for your child to be randomly selected for weekly testing. Get vaccinated. 

Your health and safety is our priority as a school system. 

I invite you to join me this evening at our Tele-Town Hall with Dr. Ernest Carter, Prince George’s County Health Officer, to discuss the return to in-person learning and related health and safety issues. Parents and guardians will receive a phone call from the school system at 5:30 p.m. If you do not receive a call, please dial 844-734-8766. The Spanish interpretation line is 508-924-5155.

Thank you for your support during these times. I look forward to speaking with you tonight.

Sincerely,

Monica Goldson, Ed.D.

Chief Executive Officer

—-

In-Person Learning

In-person learning will resume Tuesday, January 18. 

 

Temporary K-6 Virtual Learning Program 

 

The Temporary K-6 Virtual Learning Program will conclude Friday, January 28. This program was always designed to be a temporary option in the absence of a vaccine for children ages 5-11. PGCPS does not have permission from the Maryland State Department of Education to go beyond the timeframe established at the beginning of the school year. Each school will facilitate a return to school orientation meeting for our elementary virtual students during the week of January 24th and upon return to school buildings, these students will also receive a home test kit and KN95 mask. 

Masks

PGCPS will distribute KN95 masks to all students next week. Masks will continue to be required in all schools and offices. 

Quarantine and Testing Guidelines

In response to updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PGCPS has revised its quarantine and testing guidelines. Please review so you know when your child can return to school after either testing positive for or being exposed to COVID-19.

Student Testing

We have increased our testing capacity and highly encourage families to register their child for weekly random screening. Schools have paper copies of the form if you are unable to navigate the electronic version. 

 

Home Tests

Home tests will also be distributed to students when they return next week. Distribution will be coordinated by schools. Families with multiple children enrolled in PGCPS will need to obtain kits from their individual schools.

Health Checks

The Frontline Health Portal app will be discontinued on Jan. 30. Individuals should continue to monitor for symptoms daily following CDC guidelines. Do not send your child to school if they show signs of COVID-19, the flu or a cold.

Vaccine Clinics

The Prince George’s County Health Department is continuing to partner with PGCPS to hold after-school mobile vaccination clinics in elementary schools. Residents can also get vaccinated at the county’s clinic at the Sports and Learning Complex in Landover. COVID-19 vaccinations at the clinics are free and available to any eligible Prince George’s County resident age five and older. For a complete clinic schedule of sites throughout the county and to download consent forms for individuals younger than 18, visit the county’s vaccine site.

Athletics

No spectators will be allowed at athletic events through the end of January. Athletes who are not vaccinated will continue to be tested weekly. Starting Tuesday, February 1, attendance at athletic events will be limited to 25 percent of building capacity. 

COVID-19 Outbreaks

The Maryland State Department of Education has defined outbreaks as follows:

 

Classroom/Cohort outbreak:

  • Three or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among students/teachers/staff in a specified group with onsets (or, if asymptomatic, collection dates) within a 14-day period, and who are linked in the school setting, but not household contacts.

School outbreak:

  • Five or more classrooms or cohorts with cases from separate households that meet the cohort outbreak definition that occurs within 14 days; OR

  • 5% or more unrelated students/teachers/staff have confirmed COVID-19 within a 14 day period [minimum of 10 unrelated students/teachers/staff].

Transportation

We are still experiencing a school bus driver shortage which will cause delays. Our transportation team is working overtime to recruit and hire qualified, full-time drivers. 

Infofinder – Parents and schools may locate designated, comprehensive bus stops by entering the home address.  

Stopfinder Bus App – Available on Google Play and the Apple App Store. Parents/guardians must have an email address on file in SchoolMax in order to be invited to view the students’ bus schedule.

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