Skip to main content

Return to Learn 2020-2021

Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) is currently taking a pause from our Return to Learn plan. All students transitioned to full distance learning through online classes as of November 16, 2020.

WCPS intends to resume in-person classes in Stage 4 on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 dependent on community health metrics. 

WCPS is optimistic our community health metrics will continue to decline and will support this plan. If the metrics begin to climb significantly, the plan will change. Students will return to schools in one of five stages. Stages will move forward or in reverse based on community health metrics that the State of Maryland has provided for guidance.

These include: 

  • Washington County’s daily positivity rate - the number of positive COVID-19 test results divided by the total number of tests administered
  • Washington County’s new case rate - the number of new positive COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people

These metrics will be reviewed regularly by WCPS staff. The community can review this data on the Maryland Schools Recovery website. Simply scroll down the page and select Washington County from the list of options.

View the WCPS Students in School stages here. 

When your student can return

In Stage 4 of the WCPS Return to Learn Plan, all students who would like to attend school in person may return to their buildings.

The following students are eligible to attend in-person classes five school days a week:

  • Pre-kindergarten
  • Kindergarten
  • 1st grade
  • Stage 2 students
  • Stage 3 students*

*Washington County Technical High School students will attend school on a modified schedule.

All other students in grades two through 12 are eligible to attend school on an A-day/B-day schedule.

  • A-day students attend in person every Monday, Wednesday, and every other Friday.
  • B-day students attend in person every Tuesday, Thursday, and every other Friday.
  • When students are not attending school in person, they will attend through distance learning with live, online instruction from their teacher in the classroom with their peers.

All in-person and online students will transition to a modified schedule. The student day will begin on or near their home school’s traditional start time and end earlier than the traditional end time.

During Stage 4, students will be participating in classes online with their teachers who will likely be instructing other students in person in the classroom.


If parents/guardians prefer their student learns online, they can continue to do so until Stage 5. Stage 5 is when all students return to schools.

More Information Coming

In November of 2020, WCPS surveyed parents and guardians to determine how many and which students would be returning in Stage 4. If you previously expressed interest in your student returning to school in Stage 4, school staff will be reaching out to you to confirm that you would like your child to attend in-person classes, and to provide you further details about the school day. This will include transportation information, A-day/B-day scheduling, etc., and staff will be able to answer questions you may have. School staff will contact these families to confirm the return of their students in Stage 4 no later than Monday, February 1, 2021.​

Student health and safety protocols

Returning students to classrooms in a safe way will require the collective efforts of students, families, and our WCPS staff. It is important that everyone in our learning community uphold and follow the established health and safety protocols, which are based off of local and national guidance. 

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Screening at home daily for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Wearing face coverings throughout the day in all school facilities and buses.
  • Washing and sanitizing hands throughout the day.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces throughout schools.
  • Maintaining physical distancing of six feet or more among others.

view the latest student health and safety protocols

COVID-19 Response website

WCPS has developed a website that includes information about all of our health and safety protocols for students and staff during COVID-19. You can also find other community resources that may be helpful in navigating the pandemic.


Tools for Communicating with Teachers

Parents are encouraged to use ParentVUE and WCPS email to communicate directly with teachers regarding their children. Each student in pre-k through grade 12 is assigned a WCPS email address, which can be used for parents to email teachers.

Teachers can also invite parents and guardians as guests to their child’s Google Classroom. Parents can choose to receive daily or weekly assignment summaries to track their child’s progress. Please contact your child's teacher for more information.

School Help HotlinES

School staff members will be available from 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday to provide general assistance with school-related assignments, applications, and websites. 

Elementary: 301-842-8976   |   Middle: 301-842-8677   |   High: 301-857-1059

a graphic with help hotline numbers

technology HELP HOTLINE

Technology team members will be available from 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Monday-Friday to provide assistance with your child's WCPS-issued device.
Technology Help Hotline: 301-766-8990

a graphic with help hotline numbers

Return to play - athletics

WCPS winter athletes are currently participating in virtual conditioning activities.

Modified in-person practices will begin on Saturday, February 6, 2021. If in-person practices cannot begin on this date, the winter sports season will be canceled in Washington County.

Within the first 20 days of practice, each team will scrimmage other county teams. The competitive schedule will include playing county teams again for the record. Assuming winter sports begins on February 6, 2021, the first eligible competition date will be Friday, February 26, 2021.

Coaches and athletic directors will communicate with student athletes and families regarding practice and competition arrangements closer to the time of in-person activities. WCPS will be following state guidelines and will share additional information regarding spectators at sporting events closer to the start of competitions.

meal services

It has been a priority of WCPS to continue to provide access to school meals through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Food Services staff is operating meal sites at different locations across Washington County this school year. 

  • FREE meals are provided to anyone 18 & under at Meal Sites or In-School
  • ONE meal - per day, per child (1 meal includes: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, & 1 dinner)
  • Grab-N-Go Meal sites are serving Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner  
  • Served Monday-Friday from 11:30AM-12:30PM
    (Remember: Meal Sites are open – when schools are open)

If you have a positive balance on your Meal Services Account, use this form located on the Food and Nutrition Services page to transfer your balance. 


A graphic displaying WCPS meal sites for 2020-2021

Download this Meal Site flyer

return to learn plan: reopen and accelerate learning

As required by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), WCPS released the Return to Learn Plan: Reopen and Accelerate Learning and posted the document to the website by August 14, 2020 (updated 10/23/2020). This document outlines the priorities, strategies, and operations of WCPS for continuous learning through the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note the table of contents topics are linked to their respective sections of the plan. 


Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) has developed student day schedules during distance learning. 

Please note these schedules may vary slightly from school-to-school to meet the needs at each school.


The student learning day will run from 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Teacher/Parent Communication Time
Teachers will be available to communicate with parents to address questions and concerns during this time each school day. Parents may expect to receive responses to their questions during this time.

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Lunch
Students will have a longer lunch period to allow enough time for children to visit one of the 19 meal sites across the county.

Students will engage in approximately two (2) hours of real-time, online instruction with their teachers throughout the day with time for breaks. Teachers will divide this time as appropriate with periods of small-group work.

Kindergarten - Grade 5
Students will engage in approximately three (3) hours of real-time, online instruction with their teachers throughout the day with time for breaks. Teachers will divide this time as appropriate with periods of small-group work.


Students have six classes every day. All six classes are live online and 35 minutes long. The school day will run from 9:00 a.m. - 2:10 p.m.

For most students, one of the six classes is an academic skills class during which students will be provided with additional support and/or enrichment.

Students have one hour for lunch to allow enough time for children to visit one of the 19 meal sites across the county.


Comprehensive High Schools
Students have 6 classes every day. All 6 classes are live online and 35 minutes long. The school day will run from approximately 9:00 a.m. - 2:10 p.m.

Students have one hour for lunch to allow enough time for children to visit one of the 19 meal sites across the county.

Washington County Technical High School
Students have two academic classes on A-days and two academic classes on B-days. They have two Career Technology Education (CTE) classes every day. All four classes are live online and 70 minutes long. The school day will run from 9:00 a.m. - 2:25 p.m.

Students have one hour for lunch to allow enough time for children to visit one of the 19 meal sites across the county.

Barbara Ingram School for the Arts
Students have eight classes every day. The classes are all 35 minutes long. The academic classes are live online every day, and the arts classes are a mix of live online classes and hands-on activities/assignments depending on which program a student is in. The school day will run from 9:00 a.m. - 3:10 p.m. The last class each day is ensemble; students may not have ensemble every day.

Students have one hour for lunch to allow enough time for children to visit one of the 19 meal sites across the county.