Prince George’s County to begin school year with distance learning

Prince George’s County students will begin the 2020-2021 school year with distance learning, the district announced on Wednesday.

District CEO Monica Goldson said during a livestreamed news conference that the distance learning will be offered from the first day of classes – Aug. 31 – through Jan. 29.

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather

According to Goldson, the distance model Prince George's County students will have opportunities for both "individual and small group support to build strengths in core subjects."

"The level of rigorous instruction will remain the same as it was in the classroom, because it has to be. What we can’t do is allow technology to be the hinderance for why our kids can’t excel which is why we have created parent support centers that will be strategically located throughout the school districts," said Goldson.

Under the new model, teachers will have the option of teaching from their classrooms, and they will conduct live and scheduled lessons.

Classes will be held five days a week during regular school hours.

Breakout sessions will support special needs students and English learners.

Hardware will be provided to each student individually.

Goldson noted that a survey revealed significant concern about entering the school year with a “hybrid model.”

She said district officials would reassess the situation regarding COVID-19 in the county and beyond in December, and evaluate whether they will adopt a hybrid model in February.

READ MORE: Maryland teacher's union, PTA backs virtual-only start to school

She also said parents will shape the decision about the possibility of hybrid learning.

Some parents and grandparents FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan spoke with on Wednesday said that while they’re okay with waiting on kids going back to school in person, many of them are dealing with their own set of challenges when it comes to the at homeschooling and their work-life balance.  

“It’s hard on the parents because now not only are you working full time but now you’re a fulltime school teacher so it can be very difficult," said Laverne Bridges.

Shortly after the novel coronavirus appeared in Maryland, Prince George’s County became the epicenter of the outbreak in the state.