Montgomery County expecting rise in COVID cases, makes change to school schedule

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Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 11:26 AM EDT
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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Montgomery County Public Schools is switching to fully online classes beginning Monday, September 14, for students in grades 4-12. That’s based on an expectation in the county of a projected increase in COVID-19 cases in the area.

In a message from the district posted online, however, the district indicates there are no positive cases in its schools.

While most students will begin online instruction, the following students will be allowed to attend school in person on their current schedules:

  • students with an IEP (K-12),
  • students who are English Language Learners (K-12),
  • students without access to the internet (K-12),
  • students of employees (K-12), and
  • all students in grades PK-3 as they are currently scheduled.

Local health officials have indicated “the volume of cases in our community may be significant in the coming days,” according to the district, so “we believe that this change is in the best interest of our students and the community.”

As of September 11, 1,211 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Montgomery County going back to the beginning of the pandemic, putting it on the New York Times hotspot list with 1,229 cases per 100,000 residents.

The district said the projection from the Virginia Department of Health is new positive COVID cases will start to decrease before Monday, September 21, and if that trend stays the course, there should be days of decreasing positive tests before September 28, which is the goal to return to the current schedule. The district plans to track the data to be able to update families about any further changes.

The district intends to release follow-up information this weekend to families.

In the meantime, over the next two weeks, MCPS childcare centers will stay open, and:

  • Our buses will continue to run their current schedules to pick up the students who are eligible to be in schools.
  • Parents can contact the school to schedule medication pickup.
  • No extracurricular activities will be held, including athletics.
  • Meal pickups will be available at the high schools (more info to follow).

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