Montgomery County Public Schools moving toward school reopening, possibly by March 1

The superintendent and deputy superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools are now looking at how to potentially answer Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's call and reopen schools by March 1.

A few weeks ago, the Board of Education for Maryland’s largest school district announced they would again delay the planned start of phased-in, in-person instruction from February 1st to March 15th. However, both the superintendent and deputy superintendent expressed on Thursday that while they did announce that March 15th start-date, they are also looking at how to answer Gov. Hogan’s call.

READ MORE: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan calls on schools to reopen for hybrid learning no later than March 1

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) superintendent also discussed working on getting individual students with special needs or focused 1, 2 and 3-person student groups in school by late February.

Ultimately, it is up to the School Board to vote on phased-in return plans. The superintendent said he will present the proposal for the board to vote on come February 23.

Before then, February 9's Board of Education meeting, is when officials will be going over school timelines. Superintendent Smith said afterward, parents will be receiving individual communication on what their child’s specific schedule will look like.

On Thursday, MCPS officials also announced the return to sports, with a target date set for MCPS Fall sports in-person activity to begin on February 27. Registration is expected to begin Friday through ParentVUE.

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"I 100% think that they would have it sanitized and clean and everything, I don’t doubt that. I just don’t think the kids, personally, are ready to sit in a classroom unless there’s major social distancing," said Amy Young, who has a grandchild distance learning from home.

"My father’s a sub for MCPS and he’s not getting any work and it’s extremely hard for him. Everyone’s suffering, I mean, like I said,  I really think they need a better plan to get kids back in the school," Melody Kia told FOX 5.

The Board of Education held a virtual meeting on Thursday where they also presented some of the school readiness measures being implemented to keeps students and MCPS staff safe when they are allowed to return.

Some of those measures include one-way hallways at Damascus High School or having each grade (6th, 7th and 8th) enter their middle school through three different entrances. A video presented also said lockers would be off-limits since officials are unable to ensure safe social distancing within that area.

Before mentioning these protocols, the board heard from 15 video testimonies, most of them from parents and students calling for classes to return. One parent threatened to sue if the Board of Education does not move to re-open schools.

When asked about the status of the school system’s 208 HVAC systems, FOX 5 was pointed toward this portion of MCPS’ website.