Schools begin in-person classes this week

Submitted photo/DCPS, Valerie Goff
Food service staffs are cooking up a warm welcome for students who will return to classes this week.

CAMBRIDGE — Dorchester County Public Schools entered Phase 2 of their reopening plan on Tuesday, as the first students arrived for in-person instruction in regular academic classes since the schools closed in March when the COVID-19 virus began to hit the state. There have been some special education and technical classes meeting already, because of the needs and requirements of their students.

It’s been an unprecedented few months for public education in Dorchester County, as administrators and teachers struggled to present online classes. Parents have faced difficulties as well, with many missing work to stay at home with children.
On Sept. 25, Superintendent Dave Bromwell spoke in a video on the DCPS’s Facebook page, saying that on Oct. 13, A Week students in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, grades 6 and 9 and students who still have connectivity issues will report to their home schools.

On Oct. 20, B Week students in the small grades or with connectivity issues will report to their home schools.
Then on Oct. 27, “Our true Phase 2 begins, as 50 percent of our grades report as our A Week students come to school,” Mr. Bromwell said. On Nov. 3, Phase 2 continues as the 50 percent of students in B Week attend classes.

The A and B groups allow for smaller classes and social distancing, Mr. Bromwell said. Group C students remain virtual, at the parents’ request. Group D identifies those who will participate in both A and B Weeks.
Protective measures
• The health of all DCPS students and staff depends on parents/guardians evaluating their student’s health each day before they are sent to school.
• Students and staff are expected to wear a mask while on the school bus and in school. Mask breaks have been built into students’ daily schedules.
• Students are encouraged to bring a filled water bottle(s) to school each day. School fountains will not be operational. Students may bring only water to school.
• To ensure the safety of all bus riders, students must ride the same bus each day. Bus changes cannot be honored.
• To ensure the safety of all students, parents/guardians will not be admitted to school buildings. If you need to pick up your child due to illness or an appointment, call the school when you arrive and school staff will meet you at the door. Be prepared to show identification.
• Students should bring their DCPS-issued device, charger and DCPS workbooks (Illustrative Math, Fundations for elementary) and textbooks (for secondary). All other school supplies should remain at home as individual work materials will be supplied for your child.

Note that family decisions to work virtually will remain in effect until the end of Trimester 1 on Nov. 30 for elementary students and until the end of Semester 1 on Jan. 26 for secondary students.
Please refer to the DCPS Covid 19 Health/Safety Agreement on the DCPS website dcps.k12.md.us

Food service
• Grab-and-go bags will be available on Mondays only and can be picked up from any elementary or high school or from the front entrance to the Board of Education building at 700 Glasgow St. in Cambridge.
• Distribution times at schools will be 3-6 p.m.; at the Board of Ed it will be 3-5 p.m.
• Grab-and-go bags are for DCPS students only and can only be picked up by the child or a parent.
The guiding principle is that DCPS provides breakfast and lunch for every child each school day. If it is a day when the child is learning in the school building, they will receive their breakfast and lunch there. If it is a day of virtual learning, their meals will come from their grab-and-go bag picked up on Monday.

Sports
Students interested in playing sports for any season need to complete the athletics forms located on the DCPS website and schedule their physical before the start of the modified first semester season.
Vikings and Eagles have their own pages at dcps.k12.md.us.
In accordance with the MPSSAA Two-Semester Plan, school systems are allowed to have modified athletic seasons in both semesters. The first semester will be non-competitive, second semester will be a five-week competitive season.

Dates for the modified season for the first semester are:
• 10/13 – 10/30 will be Spring Modified Season
• 10/31-11/17 will be Fall Modified Season
• 11/18-12/5 will be Winter Modified Season
Dates may be adjusted based upon MSDE, MPSSAA, and School Superintendents’ future recommendations. Any questions, comments, or concerns around this return of sports, contact Dr. Derek “Doc” Sabedra, DCPS Supervisor of Athletics at sabedrad@dcpsmd.org.

Call for information
The number to call for help navigating the many changes is 410-901-6951. The recording on the line will be updated each day with information for the following day and may be updated again on the same day if school operations are affected by weather or an unexpected event.