Dr. Karen Salmon, state superintendent of Maryland public schools, announced today that schools will continue to be closed through April 24.
School systems around the state, including Charles County Public Schools (CCPS), are closed in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order earlier this week closing all nonessential businesses to slow the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). As Maryland officials report more cases of COVID-19 in the state, schools will remain closed.
“We did not make this decision lightly,” Salmon said. “However, with the challenges facing our state and our country, we have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our school communities and the community at large.”
Salmon said she has been working closely with school system superintendents around the state to address issues on how to provide educational services to all students, including those who receive additional services. The continuity of education services will resume next week, she added.
“More information will be available in the coming days as we work collaboratively on a state-wide plan that maintains equitable standards and expectations for students,” Salmon said.
The original school closure prompted CCPS to plan for distance learning options for students. Today’s announcement of an extended closure affirms the need to continue student learning through online and paper packet learning activities. CCPS will work with teachers later this week to assist them in reconnecting with their students and helping them become acquainted with the new learning activities. CCPS will work with teachers and students who do not have access to the internet or a device at home to ensure instruction continues. Paper packets will be available next week at meal distribution sites. CCPS staff is working this week on plans for students who need additional supports.
CCPS technology staff spent the first week of the closure readying laptops for staff. Work continues to provide technology to students with access to the internet, but who do not have a laptop or tablet to work on at home. Through distance learning, students will be able to complete assignments and communicate with their teachers. More information will be provided to parents and students throughout the week regarding distance learning.
“Teaching and learning is our core mission, and it’s time to re-engage teachers with what they love to do. We will begin our continuation of learning plan with four subjects — math, social studies, English and science for all grade levels,” Hill said. “We hope to layer on additional subjects as we move through this new way of providing educational services to our community.”
CCPS students continue to have access to optional online learning resources they can use as an enrichment tool and to stay connected to school. To connect to the online resources, go to ccboe.com and click the ‘Online learning resources’ slide on the front of the website. Paper packets of the online materials are available at meal sites. These optional materials will be available until the roll out of the distance learning materials later next week.
Free meals are being offered at school sites around the county, including three additional sites – Dr. Thomas L. Higdon, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd and J.C. Parks elementary schools. The sites operate from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, rain or shine. Students receive three meals, including a lunch and dinner meal, and a breakfast pack. They must be present to receive the meals. The sites are:
- Henry E. Lackey High School;
- Maurice J. McDonough High School;
- St. Charles High School;
- Westlake High School
- Milton M. Somers Middle School;
- Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School;
- Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School;
- J.C. Parks Elementary School;
- Indian Head Elementary School;
- Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School; and
- J.P. Ryon Elementary School.
CCPS school psychologists are available by phone 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Parents and guardians can call 240-776-5802 to talk to school psychologists about their children’s social, emotional and behavioral development.
During the closure, most CCPS staff members are teleworking, but are still available to assist parents, guardians and staff. AskCCPS is an online help desk that connects users with answers to technology and general questions. Go to ccboe.com and click the AskCCPS button under the slideshow. Users can fill out a ticket and receive an answer within 24 hours, Monday through Friday. For a quick answer, click Frequently Asked Questions under What’s New section of the website or on the AskCCPS page.
The state school closure has resulted in the cancellation or postponements of many CCPS events and activities. An updated list of cancellations and postponements can be found at https://www.ccboe.com/pr/ccps-events-canceled-due-to-school-system-closure/.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,521 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.