Responsible Return Overview

Responsible Return Header Graphic

From the Superintendent

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 draft 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 draft model. I also look forward to gaining further insight from all of our stakeholder groups in the weeks to come through surveys, focus groups, and more.

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

Operations and Safety Subhead Graphic

Worcester County Public Schools (WCPS) is committed to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. The Operations & Safety subcommittee is currently working on the section Responsible Recovery model that addresses how the school system is following the guidance set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Maryland Department of Health, and our local health department to address logistics such as cleaning, food service, transportation, facility use and more. WCPS is also committed to helping our students cope with the trauma of COVID-19 through a three-phase social emotional support system.

  • Operational Areas of Focus
    • Athletic Recovery Plan
    • Facility Usage
    • Food Service Program
    • Transportation

  • Safety Protocols
    • Cleaning Protocols
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    • Health Screening Guidelines
    • Education Planning for Social Distancing and Good Hygiene Practices

  • Tiered Social Emotional Support

Instructional Program Subhead

While the preferred method of instructional delivery is within the traditional educational environment, we are anticipating continued public health restrictions when school resumes in September.  In light of that, WCPS is preparing for three possibilities on the continuum for Responsible Return.

Face to Face Learning
Students would return in person with new safety requirements. Classrooms, schedules and protocols may need modification to meet health and safety requirements. 

Hybrid Learning
Students will participate in both face-to-face and distance learning through an A Week / B Week model schedule. This will allow for heterogeneous grouping of students and differentiation of instruction.

Distance Learning
Student learning takes place entirely remotely with opportunities for both asynchronous and synchronous learning with their teacher and peers.

While participating in distance learning, students are expected to attend all scheduled synchronous learning sessions and complete all asynchronous work. 

Distance Learning Class Attendance:
To be marked as present, students are required to be in the synchronous session(s) for the entire session(s)

Face-to-Face Attendance: Students will be counted as present in accordance with WCPS’ Attendance Policy

Worcester County Public Schools’ will follow our grading policy throughout the 2020/21 school regardless of what phase of learning we are in: face-to-face, hybrid, or distance learning. 

If schools resume full operations of school buildings IEP teams will use the WCPS SPED Recovery Checklist to identify any needs arising from the return to school, assess whether, and to what extent, the student has experienced a regression of skills and/or lack of progress on the general education curriculum, identify compensatory/recovery services.

Distance Learning Subhead Graphic

Looking toward recovery of learning, the goal of the Distance Learning model is to use the lessons learned during 2019-2020’s Continuity of Learning to transition into a long-term, sustainable solution for remote learning.

This work includes examination of the following: 
 - Procedures for the safe collection of student work
 - Professionally developing staff in providing rich feedback to support learning & engagement in the online classroom
 - Incorporate stakeholder feedback
 - Craft schedules for increased synchronous learning opportunities in the online classroom
 - Enhancing roles for specific employee groups to support student engagement & outreach

Communication Subhead Graphic

The goal of WCPS' communication plan is to inform, engage and inspire trust from our students, staff, their families, and our community in support of our students' safe return to school. WCPS' Office of Public Relations and Special Programs (OPR) anticipates the need to simultaneously deploy targeted messaging to reach multiple audiences at the same time. In light of this need, the OPR has begun to develop several strategies to educate all audiences of the WCPS Responsible Return model planning. 

 - Email
 - Automated Notifications
 - Development of Responsible Return Resource Intranet
 - Social Media
 - Child Care Resources

 - Summer Academy Webpage
 - Responsible Return Webpage
 - Automated Notifications
 - Exploration of eNewsletter
 - Media Relations
 - Videography
 - Social Media

The OPR will endeavor to address special considerations for crisis communications, school status alerts (open/closed), and the enhancement of translation services as communication for the Responsible Return model is developed.

Stakeholder Feedback Subhead Graphic

The school systems committed to ensuring that all voices are heard as the Responsible Return model is developed and finalized. Through the use of small focus groups, surveys, etc. WCPS will engage students, staff, their families and our entire community to gain insight and inform decision making.

The first of several outreach initiatives is currently open. Please complete the Transportation Survey using the button below between now and Friday, July 24, 2020.