MCPS Superintendent Rob Watson was on the Friday Talk Back show to answer questions from listeners about the progress in getting students back to in-class instruction.

Watson said students are increasing the number of days per week they’re attending school in person.

“This week, we welcome back, kindergarten, first and second graders for the week,” said Dr. Watson. “So, more days per week for them and then also grades six, seven and eight came back this week more days. Then next week it'll be grades three, four and five and the high schools nine through 12.”

Asked about what protocols the school district will keep once the pandemic is past, Watson said cleanliness will still be a top priority.

“This week we're able to secure some portable hand washing stations because we don't necessarily have a classroom sink in every classroom. But we know that hand washing is important in places or times during the day where we can't do the hand washing. Of course, the hand sanitizer is important as well but just working on those procedures so that it happens multiple times a day.”

Asked about the importance of masking going forward, Watson said that policy will continue.

“We have a lot of kids in the buildings and we're doing the best we can with social distancing, but obviously we can't stay six feet apart,” he said. “In every single situation in every single classroom, it's just not possible, and so then the masking is even more important for us.”

Watson expanded on the importance of masking in a school setting.

“It is what I would consider a reasonable accommodation so that we can have kids in school,” he said. “If we have an outbreak in a school and we have to shut the school down, that would be very traumatic at this point in time, so we don't want to have to do that. The way that we prevent that is through our mitigation strategies, and masking is a key mitigation strategy not only supported by what I'm saying, but if you read the national literature around reopening schools, every single thing I've read says masking is a key mitigation strategy to reopen your schools.”

Dr. Watson is a monthly guest on the KGVO Talk Back show.


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