Responsible Return

Responsible Return Header

Dear Worcester County families and community, 

From the very beginning of our school system's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, I have been incredibly proud of the way in which our school system community has handled this crisis. Now, as we look toward September, my pride has only grown as we unveil our Responsible Return model for the 2020-2021 school year.

Our team has been hard at work for the past several months to prepare for an unprecedented Back to School experience, all the while adapting to the ever-evolving challenges that still face us during this time.

While we recognize that there is no single model or solution that can fulfill the instructional, operational or logistical nuances that this pandemic has created, I am proud of the work and collaboration that has gone into crafting this model.

Lastly, I want to stress to you that this model is a living document, as we recognize the need to be flexible and agile, shifting our approach as conditions change. We ask for your continued patience and understanding as we try to make the best decisions possible during these seemingly impossible circumstances.

Louis H. Taylor
Superintendent of Schools

Worcester County Public Schools moved into Stage Two of the Responsible Return model on Monday, September 28, 2020. This stage enables schools to invite small groups of targeted students back for in-person learning. Families should have already been contacted by their child's school(s) if they are invited back for in-person learning at this time.


Worcester County Public Schools will begin the 2020-2021 school year 
in Stage One of the Responsible Return model, with the intention of moving into Stage Two on September 28, 2020, as health and safety conditions permit.
Please click here for more information. 

Click the below buttons to review the sections of the 
Responsible Return  model. 
If you would like to download a copy of the model, please click here.

 Instructional Program Operations and Safety


Frequently Asked Questions for Worcester County Public Schools (WCPS) Families

Q: When does school officially start for Worcester County Public Schools?
A: WCPS will begin the 2020-2021 school year as originally scheduled on Tuesday, September 8, 2020; however, all students will begin in Stage One of the Responsible Return model, meaning they will be engaged in distance learning. 

Q: What is the timeline for moving through the different learning stages in the Responsible Return model?
A: At this time, Worcester County Public Schools is currently in Stage 2 of the Responsible Return model, which enables schools to bring in targeted groups of students for face-to-face instruction; however, this is dependent on health and safety conditions at the time. WCPS will reevaluate conditions on a biweekly basis in partnership with the Worcester County Health Department.

Q: What can families do to prepare for back to school?
A: The best way to prepare for the start of the 2020-2021 school year is to stay informed: be sure to read and listen to the messages you receive from both the school system and your child's school. We will continue to keep families updated using our automated notification system, our website, and our primary social media channels - Facebook and Twitter. We also encourage you to reach out to your child's school if any of your contact information has changed and needs to be updated. 

Q: Will families have a choice of face-to-face or distance learning once WCPS enters Stage Two of the Responsible Return model?
A: Yes, every family has the option to choose to have their child(ren) continue with distance learning even after students begin to be invited back to school for face-to-face learning. Parents may exercise this option as schools reach out to invite their child(ren) back to school. 

Q: What are the expectations around face masks/coverings in schools?
A: WCPS will be following the Guidance for Use of Cloth Face Coverings in Schools, issued by the Maryland State Department of Education on August 4. 

Q: Are there more details about mitigation efforts to ensure students and staff are safe during face-to-face learning?
A: Yes, please refer to the Operations & Safety portion of the Responsible Return model for more detailed information on health and safety protocols. 

Q: What if a school or the school system receives word of an exposure to COVID-19 in the school setting?
A: Decisions relating to quarantining or classroom/building closures will be made in collaboration with the Worcester County Health Department based on the facts and the individual circumstances. More detailed information about health protocols can be found in the  Operations & Safety portion of the Responsible Return model. 

Q: What will daily health screenings look like for students and staff? 
A: Daily health screenings utilizing a questionnaire will be conducted daily by trained staff at the time of entry into the building. Any individual who does not successfully pass the symptom screening will not be granted access to the building. Should an individual develop symptoms during the school day, the health protocols outlined in the Operations & Safety portion of the Responsible Return model will be followed.

Q: Will school meals still be available during the school week, no matter the learning stage?
A: WCPS' Food Service program will continue through the school year, regardless of learning stage (distance learning, hybrid, face-to-face learning). Click here to view the Food Service Recovery Plan for more details. 

Q: How will WCPS support the social-emotional and mental health needs of students in the new school year?
A: WCPS is committed to the social and emotional health of every child in our school system. As such, the Responsible Return model details a phased social-emotional support plan, which can be viewed in the Operations & Safety portion of the Responsible Return model.

Q: What about athletics for the upcoming school year?
A: At this time, Worcester County Public Schools has created a thorough Athletics Recovery Plan that is in line with MPSSAA’s two-semester plan. Details on this plan and the semester one reengagement plan can be found in the Operations & Safety portion of the Responsible Return model.

Q: What will bus service look like this school year? 
A: WCPS has developed a Transportation Plan that outlines protocols to ensure the safe transportation of students to our school facilities. This plan can be found in the Operations & Safety portion of the Responsible Return model.