COVID Surge forces schools in Prince George to return to virtual learning

Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, Prince George County public schools will revert to virtual learning for all students from Monday to January 14.

Schools will be closed for winter holidays from December 24 to 31, then reopen on January 3.

School buildings are set to reopen after Martin Luther King Jr.’s vacation on Jan. 18.

“Over the past few days, I have kept in daily contact with the Prince George County Department of Health regarding appropriate measures to maintain safe environments in over 200 school communities,” wrote Schools Director General Monica. Goldson, in a letter Friday. “Educators, administrators and support staff need to be able to deliver in-person classes and other activities under conditions that prioritize their own health, as well as the well-being of the school community. Rising positivity rates have severely strained the ability to do so, causing anxiety in many school communities and disrupting the school day. “

Parents and guardians can pick up teaching materials from their respective schools on Monday, but will receive specific information on when to pick up items from principals.

Meal distributions will take place Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon. A schedule for the next month “is to come,” Goldson said in the letter.

Three schools – Benjamin Tasker and Kettering Colleges and EXCEL Academy Public Charter School – closed their buildings on Wednesday due to COVID-19 cases and students returned to virtual learning.

The school system listed 69 buildings reporting at least one positive case on Wednesday, including 21 with multiple cases.

Some of the same schools and other buildings are among 60 buildings that reported at least one positive case on Thursday – 24 of them with multiple cases, including the PGCPS headquarters.

Prince George’s continues to lead the state of Maryland in confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 102,000.

County data shows the average weekly hospitalizations from Dec.5 to 11 was 113, down from 91 the week before.

County executive candidate Tonya Sweat of Acokeek said in a statement Friday that she and other parents heard about students returning to virtual education through news outlets ahead of official notice of the school system.

“PGCPS announced yesterday that it is closing three schools, and that should have been a warning that all schools would inevitably be affected,” Sweat said. “Instead of buying gifts and putting the finishing touches on holiday decorations, parents should hurry to alert supervisors that they can’t work next week or find an alternative. This is no way to deal with a public health emergency, let alone those most affected. “

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