washington county public schools - covid-19
frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Updated May 5, 2020
The COVID-19 crisis is an ever-changing and evolving situation. Updates to these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) will be made as WCPS responds to the pandemic and continues student learning across Washington County.
You will find answers to the following topics:
- Distance Learning
- Online Video Classrooms
- Special Education and English Learner Supports
- End of School Year and Graduation
- Student Support
What is Distance Learning?
Distance learning is the plan to help WCPS students continue to learn while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. It is an alternative means of education in the form of online and offline learning opportunities to guide the experience students will have when schools remain in session but students are unable to physically attend school because of campus closures.
Families are encouraged to access online learning, including live classes and assignments to complete in between live classes. Weekly learning packets will be mailed to students in grades pre-k through grade 2. Students in grades 3 through 12 who cannot access the internet can pick up learning packets in core academic subjects at their schools each week.
how can i best support my child while he/she is participating in distance learning?
WCPS has compiled tips, tutorials, and guidance for families and students on the Distance Learning @ WCPS website.
What do i do if my child's wcps-issued device is not working properly?
A parent or guardian should submit the Distance Learning Technology Support form for assistance. All fields on the form should be completed for WCPS staff to respond in a timely manner.
what if I don't have access to the internet?
There are several options families can pursue to access the internet for distance learning:
- Contact the internet provider in your area to see if you are eligible for free or reduced price service.
- Antietam Broadband: 301-797-5000
- Comcast/Xfinity: 800-934-6489 or visit www.internetessentials.com
- Visit a school campus with outdoor, free WiFi connections. Parents and/or students are able to connect to free internet near a marked area at schools. Assignments can be downloaded to complete offline and then uploaded when completed using the student's WCPS log-in information. Visitors to these locations are asked to maintain social distancing and preventative measures to help protect the safety and health of our community.
- Use a community WiFi hotspot. Antietam Broadband and Comcast/Xfinity are opening their WiFi hotpsots for community members to use for free during the COVID-19 crisis. Please note this service is subject to change at the discretion of the provider, and WCPS may not be notified.
- To see a full list of areas where students can connect to outdoor WiFi locations, click here.
If none of these options are feasible for your family, please contact your child's school principal. It is recommended to reach the principal by email while schools are closed. Find a list of school contact information here.
how often will my child be assigned work?
Students will be assigned work weekly by their teacher(s) to be completed.
How often will teachers contact my child?
Students should have weekly contact with their teachers via online classes, phone calls, or another preferred method of communication. Parents may reference schedules provided by the school and/or teachers.
online video classrooms
how is wcps promoting student safety while using online video classrooms?
WCPS is evaluating options for online virtual classrooms with considerations for student privacy and safety, security of the WCPS network and devices, system functionality, and more. Teachers have been provided direction for enhancing safety for users in Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
Can students record online classes to watch again later?
Student and parents/guardians should not record video classes. Teachers may provide recorded lessons for the class to review. Recording online classes could violate Maryland law or compromise student privacy.
special education and english learner supports
How will my child continue with his/her individualized education plan (IEP) or 504?
WCPS special education case managers will collaboratively design an Individual Continuity of Learning Plan (ICLP) with parents for students with disabilities.
how will my child access additional supports during the school closure period?
Special education-related service providers will continue to provide individual one-on-one services based upon each student's IEP to ensure uninterrupted services. They may also hold small group meetings as appropriate and/or as they are able to meet the needs of all students.
how can families of English learner (EL) students support their children in learning during the school closure?
Families can visit the WCPS EL website for information. You can also contact Sonia Vanegas, the EL Community Liaison with WCPS' International Welcome Center, by calling 240-339-4883 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
end of the school year and seniors
will high school seniors be able to participate in graduation?
A decision has not been made to cancel graduation. WCPS is exploring other potential opportunities to make this milestone occasion special for seniors and families in the event we cannot have an in-person celebration. Read more at: Class of 2020 Graduation Plans | Remise des Diplômes | Planes de Graduación Clase 2020
What is the status of advanced placement and international baccalaureate exams?
Students are scheduled to complete Advanced Placement (AP) exams are May 11-25 with the week of June 1-5 reserved for make-up exams. The exams will be taken in writing or on a device. WCPS will work with students to ensure they have the appropriate tools and resources to complete this testing.
International Baccalaureate (IB) has announced exams will not be administered this year, and students will receive their IB Diploma or Certificate based on their completed coursework and the exams they were scheduled to take. For more information, click here.
will students be required to complete state testing (Maryland comprehensive assessment program [mcap])?
This testing has been suspended due to the COVID-19 school closure, and it is not a graduation requirement this year.
what is the status of extra-curricular and co-curricular events?
All athletics and school-related activities and events are canceled until schools are able to re-open.
what is the last day of school?
The last day of school for students is Wednesday, June 10.
How can I enroll my child in grade K-12 while schools are closed?
To enroll a student in grades K-12, the legal parent/guardian must initiate the enrollment process by contacting the school in the district where they reside. Type in your address here. School staff are prepared to work with parents through a virtual enrollment process. Please note, a student who is currently enrolled in a Washington County Public School who moves to a different school attendance zone between now and the end of the 2019-2020 school year may maintain their enrollment at their current school. Under this circumstance, the legal parent is required to provide the current school with an updated proof of residency.
For information specific to kindergarten registration, click here.
How can i enroll my child in pre-k while schools are closed?
For students who will be four years old by September 1, 2020, parents can print the pre-k application and fax or mail the completed form to the fax number or address listed on the application. Families can also make arrangements to pick up a hard copy of the application by calling any elementary school. If this is not possible, WCPS will work closely with families to ensure schools have the necessary information for students to enroll for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. When the application is received and processed, families will receive an enrollment packet in the mail. When complete, please call the school as school staff are prepared to work with parents through a virtual enrollment process. For more information, visit the Pre-kindergarten page.
are counselors available for students?
Counselors are available to talk with students over the phone or online while schools are closed. Click here to be directed to a list of school counselors and social workers by school location, along with their email address. If you are not able to reach your child's school counselor for any reason, contact the Supervisor of School Counseling, Ms. Helen Huffer, via email to email@example.com.
will students be able to receive meals while schools are closed?
WCPS is currently operating 19 meal sites across Washington County. Any child 18 years or younger who is present at the site is eligible for meal services. One "meal" includes lunch, a snack, and breakfast for the following day. Meal sites are operating on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Students will receive two meals on Monday, one meal on Wednesday, and two meals on Thursday. Meals are served in a grab-n-go style to prevent congregating at the sites. Find a list of all meal sites and pick-up times.
If you have additional questions, email them to COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.