Students chart

A pie chart shows Cecil County Public School students’ preferences on return to school in the fall.

CECIL COUNTY — The Cecil County Public Schools announced Monday that the district will continue with its “virtual classroom model” followed in the spring of 2020 for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year in a notice to parents that can also be found on the district’s webpage.

The school year is anticipated to begin on Sept. 1.

According to the notice, the district will begin providing face to face instruction for small groups of students based upon the needs of children. According to information on the district’s website, following one month of this limited face to face delivery model, the district will then determine if the small group model can be expanded incrementally for other students.

The release states that “We believe beginning in small and deliberate steps provides the best outcomes possible,” and that a full plan will be provided later this week.

The district further noted that a “rigorous safety protocol will be implemented for staff and students generated with information from The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the State of Maryland and the Cecil County Health Department.”

A draft of the safety protocols, which can be found on the district’s website will include such precautions including increased cleaning and disinfecting rules as well as requirements that all students and staff wear face coverings throughout the day.

Students or staff exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are requested to stay home pursuant to the proposed protocols and those students or staff who become in will be required to go home as soon as possible. The district will also implement contact tracing rules which may result in additional steps being taken to ensure the safety of students and staff.

According to the draft protocols, students will eat food in classrooms, although the cafeteria may be used to stage students who will be purchasing lunch at school. Students may remove masks when eating or drinking, pursuant to the protocols.

Recently, CCPS issued a survey asking a variety of different questions regarding the reopening plans for the district. Based upon the results, a clear majority of students and parents supported all in-person learning or a mix of in-person and remote learning. Based upon information provided by CCPS, 43.7 percent of parents surveyed supported schools coming back in an all in-person learning environment, while 33.7 percent said they would like to see a mix of in-person and remote learning. Of those surveyed, 22.6 percent said they wanted to see only all-remote learning.

In student surveys, 53.4 percent said they favored all in-person learning, while 30.6 percent favored a mix. Only 16.1 percent wanted an all virtual/remote learning experience.

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