July 30, 2020 - Back to School Announcement


July 30, 2020 - 
Good evening, students, and hello to your family members watching as well.

Today was a big day for Worcester County Public Schools. Earlier, the Board of Education and I stood alongside our partners at the Health Department, our teacher and support staff associations, and the County Commissioners to announce that we would begin this school year in stage one of our Responsible Return model, meaning that you will begin your classes on September 8, through distance learning.

This decision has weighed heavily on me and everyone in our school system because we were all holding onto that hope that we would be able to welcome you back into our halls and classrooms. I know for me, the first day of school, when I would visit all fourteen of our schools in a single day – is one of the highlights of my whole year, but these are extraordinary times. And your health – your safety – always comes first.

Now, while we are starting with distance learning, we have been working hard to reinforce our safety protocols and procedures, so dependent on conditions at the time, we hope to start bringing small groups of students back to school buildings beginning Monday, September 28. This will look very similar to our successful summer academy programs that are currently in session.

For the parents listening tonight, I also announced today that we are providing the choice of distance learning for any families that feel this is the best option for their child. You’ll be able to exercise this choice as schools reach out to you to invite your child back to the classroom.

We know this is not an ideal solution for everyone; there truly is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges coronavirus has placed on us all. Just know that we are committed to your safety and the safety of our teachers and staff, both within our schools and from a distance.

As Back to School approaches, you will hear more from your school principal and teachers on what the school day will look like for each of you. In the meantime, please know that we are all thinking about you, missing you, and looking forward to seeing you as soon as we can.

Take care, and God bless each one of you.

Good night.



PRESS RELEASE

Newark, MD, July 30, 2020
– At a press conference this afternoon, Worcester County Public Schools Superintendent Lou Taylor announced the school system’s plans for students to begin the 2020-2021 school year in Stage One of the Responsible Return mode, meaning students will be engaged in distance learning. 

Flanked by officials from Worcester County’s Board of Education, Health Department, Teachers Association, Educational Support Personnel Association, and the Worcester County Commissioners, Taylor began his remarks by thanking these organizations for their partnership and guidance as the school system crafted the Responsible Return model and determined the in which learning stage students would begin this school year. 

Taylor also acknowledged the incredible amount of input the school system received from families, staff and the Worcester County community. 

“We have received an enormous amount of input from our families, faculty, and staff,” he said, referring to the thousands of survey responses, emails, messages and more the school system has received over the last several weeks. “I am confident that today’s decision is the right one for our community.”

The Responsible Return model outlines four stages of learning, as depicted in the graphic below. (Visit www.worcesterk12.org to view the entire draft model, including details about each stage. The model will be finalized by the state’s deadline of August 14.)

Instructional Stages
Taylor also acknowledged the need to bring students back into the school environment as quickly as health and safety conditions allow.

“We recognize the significant challenges that distance learning poses for many of our students’ academic and social-emotional development, which is why we intend to re-evaluate conditions every two weeks,” he said. “As those conditions allow, we hope to move into Stage Two by Monday, September 28, which will welcome back into our buildings small groups of identified students for face-to-face instruction.”

The stage two model builds upon the success the school system has had in bringing small groups of students back into classrooms through our summer academy programs currently underway at all schools. 

Once again referencing the feedback received from stakeholders, Taylor also announced that families could choose to keep their child in distance learning when students are able to return to the classroom.

“We recognize the fear that many families have at this tenuous time, so to ease those fears, Worcester County Public Schools will continue to offer a choice of distance learning for any families that do not wish to physically send their child back to school,” he said. “Parents will be able to exercise this option as schools reach out to invite their child back to the classroom.”