WCPS Announces Stage 3 to Start October 12
Posted October 5, 2020
In this update, you will find information about:
- Stage 3 begins October 12
- Health and safety protocols
- Transportation changes
- Expansion of extracurricular activities
- Extracurricular guidelines
Stage 3 Begins October 12
Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) is pleased to announce we will be welcoming more students back to classrooms as we advance to Stage 3 of our Return to Learn plan on Monday, October 12, 2020. As part of Stage 3, all kindergarten students, Washington County Technical High School students, and school-identified students may return to in-person learning.
Schools have already been in contact with families of students who are identified to return in Stage 3 to make appropriate arrangements. If you have not been contacted by school staff, and you believe your child is eligible to return in Stage 3, please contact your child’s school principal.
WCPS continues to evaluate various factors as we move through the Return to Learn stages. One factor is our community health metrics. Washington County’s COVID-19 data has been trending downward. After consistently being above the state average over the last three weeks, Washington County has now fallen below the state averages in both the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people as well as the positivity rate. These current metrics are closely aligned with the data around September 1, 2020, when WCPS announced the initial return of students in small groups (Stage 2).
See the figures below for more information about today’s metrics.
Health and Safety Protocols
WCPS appreciates all students, staff, and families who have promoted a safe and healthy learning environment by following protocols in our schools such as wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing, and washing and sanitizing their hands frequently. Our school staff has established routines and habits with students who have already returned, which will help incoming students successfully transition back into the classroom.
Each elementary student who is learning in classrooms will receive a personal school supply kit so that pencils, crayons, and other learning materials are not shared among students. These supplies are being assembled this week to distribute to students on Monday, October 12.
While WCPS encourages all students to bring their own face covering, schools have available face masks for children of all ages if they need one throughout the day. WCPS has an ample supply of cleaning and disinfecting materials, hand soap and sanitizer, face coverings, and other health and safety items.
WCPS Transportation staff have been working on revising bus routes to accommodate students in Stage 3. Families of students in Stage 2 should be advised that bus pick-up and drop-off times may change as we make this next transition. School staff will be contacting families to inform them of new or adjusted bus schedules on Thursday and Friday of this week.
WCPS school buses have limited capacity. Students sit in a seat to themselves unless they live in the same household. Transportation staff clean and disinfect buses between morning and afternoon routes.
The expansion of athletics and extracurricular activities is tied to Stage 3. If WCPS needs to move back to Stage 2, athletics and extracurricular activities will revert to Stage 2 restrictions.
Expansion of Extracurricular Activities
WCPS is also pleased to announce that with the step forward to Stage 3 on October 12, 2020, athletics and other extracurricular activities will be expanded to allow competitive events. Competitive play for interscholastic sports will begin on or after October 27, 2020. Athletic conditioning will expand to traditional practices on October 12, 2020.
Students, coaches, and instructors will follow CDC guidelines regarding their specific activity. Participants will continue the same check-in procedure at practices and meetings to support contact tracing if necessary. Contact among all participants will be limited, and students should not share towels, water bottles, on-person gear, or other personal items.
Spectators are limited at events under guidance and order of the Maryland Department of Health. Currently, up to 50% capacity or 100 people (whichever is less) can attend indoor contests, and up to 50% capacity or 250 people (whichever is less) can attend outdoor contests.
More information regarding schedules will be coming soon, and a spectator plan will be shared prior to the first competitive event.
WCPS encourages everyone in the Washington County community to continue practicing healthy habits to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Following these precautions help our community and our school system move forward through the pandemic.
- Wear a face covering in public places and where you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more from others.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
- Avoid large group gatherings.
- If you or your child is sick, please stay home.