Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is planning for the return of in-person learning for all students this fall. The first day of school for students for the 2021-2022 school year is Monday, Aug. 30. CCPS will move forward with a traditional school year for all students. This includes a return to five days of in-person instruction for all students, prekindergarten through Grade 12.
Last month, CCPS instructional leaders presented to the Board of Education a return to learning plan for the school system. The plans include a continued focus on providing every student with an electronic learning device, enhanced sanitation and cleaning protocols, additional social and emotional supports for students and staff, and instructional programs to address learning gaps. The presentation is posted online here.
As part of the return to school plans, eligible high school students were offered the opportunity to apply for the Virtual Academy. Students who met specific criteria were eligible to apply, such as performance during the 2020-21 school year and attendance levels. As of June 15, more than 125 high school students have been accepted to the program. The high school Virtual Academy is the only virtual learning option for CCPS students next school year.
Gov. Hogan recently announced a July 1 end date to his executive order requiring mask use in schools and school buildings. CCPS is not making any changes to its mask use policy or standard operating procedures at this time. Staff will continue to work with the state and local health departments, as well as the Maryland State Department of Education, to ensure the health and safety of staff and students.
Standard operating procedures in place may change as CCPS receives updated COVID-19 guidance from state and local health officials. Since March 2020, CCPS has consistently worked with partner agencies and Charles County Health Officer Dr. Dianna Abney to ensure CCPS was in compliance with best health and safety practices.
To prepare for the fall, CCPS has implemented summer learning programs that target students most in need of additional support. At the elementary level, CCPS is hosting summer boost programs for identified students. Additional summer programs are in place for special education students, as well as students in the English Learners (EL) program.
CCPS waived the fees for secondary summer school make-up courses this year and is providing two free summer enrichment camps for elementary and secondary students. Information about available summer enrichment camps is posted on the CCPS website.
Summer curriculum planning is set to address shifts in learning targets for students. Instructional staff are working on professional development sessions for teachers, reviewing data and updating curriculum to best support learning gaps.
As the new school year begins, CCPS will continue its focus on social-emotional learning programs. This includes mental health screenings at the secondary levels, mental health workshops for students identified in need, partnering with Tri-County Youth Services Bureau, and monthly classroom guidance lessons.
The goal is for staff to reconnect with students and focus on relationship-building to support a return to in-person learning. At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, only 10,000 students had returned to school for limited in-person instruction. More than 27,000 students are anticipated to return to schools Aug. 30.
CCPS will share plans for the new school year with parents, staff and students as they are finalized. Any CCPS updates are posted on the school system website at ccboe.com.