MCPS spring break won’t be used for coronavirus make-up days

MCPS spring break won’t be used for coronavirus make-up days

Governor says no decision on whether to extend statewide school closure

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MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith speaks about the coronavirus at a press conference earlier this month.

File photo

Montgomery County Public Schools’ spring break, scheduled for mid-April, won’t be altered to make up days schools are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the district announced Wednesday night.

“After careful consideration, MCPS has decided to keep spring break intact and not use it for make-up days,” a message to community members said. It goes on to say MCPS staff members are still working to determine how to offset the lost days and awaiting “further guidance from the state on any changes to the calendar.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan did not give any updates about public schools during a news conference Thursday morning.

When state Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced the two-week statewide closures, which will run through March 27, she suggested school districts cancel or modify their spring break schedule to make up the lost instructional days. Later the same day, MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith said the school district needed time to determine if that was the best option.

MCPS’ spring break is scheduled for April 6 to 13.

The missed days are being treated as an “emergency closure,” similar to when classes are canceled for inclement weather, meaning teachers are not working or providing new instruction, Wednesday’s MCPS message said.

In a separate message to MCPS staff, Chief Operating Officer Andy Zuckerman wrote that all employee paychecks scheduled to be paid March 27 have been processed and will be distributed normally.

The third quarter is scheduled to end March 27, but it will be extended after the school closures. Teachers will not enter any new grades until classes resume.

“Given that schools were closed prior to the end of the third marking period, many teachers did not have an opportunity to enter grades or give remaining assignments and quizzes,” the MCPS community message said. “Therefore, when school resumes, the third marking period will be extended.”

The message says MCPS is still developing a long-term learning plan if schools remain closed into April.

Salmon said she received long-term plans from each Maryland school district on Monday and they are being reviewed to “make sure they’re equitable across the state.”

MCPS’ message says that, as of Wednesday, all graduations and high school proms will continue as scheduled. That could change “with any new guidance that may come from the state.”

In its message, MCPS announced that, beginning Thursday, breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided to students at all of its meal sites across the county.

Between Monday and Wednesday, MCPS provided more than 18,000 meals at 20 sites, according to school district data provided to Bethesda Beat.

Any children younger than 18 can receive meals from any site between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on weekdays while schools are closed.

Two sites have been added to the list — Damascus Gardens Apartments on Bethesda Church Road in Damascus and Germantown Mobile Home Park on Frederick Road.

Zuckerman’s message says MCPS will soon use “our food services truck fleet, and will be leveraging our school buses … to reach even more students and families.”

Coronavirus: a timeline

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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