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School’s Back In Session: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

| September 08, 2021, 09:00 AM

The 2021-2022 school year brings a return to full classrooms of students as Anne Arundel County Public Schools returns to five-days-per-week instruction after a year of virtual and hybrid education.

Classes for students in grades 1 through 6 and 9 will begin on Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Students in grades 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12 will have their first day of class on September 9, with students in ECI, prekindergarten, and kindergarten starting on staggered schedules over several days.

The staggered openings of secondary schools will give sixth- and ninth-graders a chance to get acclimated to their new surroundings before the remaining students return to class on Thursday, September 9.

Students at the Mary Moss at J. Albert Adams Academy will not utilize the staggered start. Families have been notified individually as to their student’s start date.

For a complete 2021-2022 school year calendar, click here.

COVID-19 precautions

AACPS continues to employ health and safety protocols developed in conjunction with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maryland Department of Health, and the Anne Arundel County Department of Health.

As per protocols announced by Superintendent George Arlotto in early August and reinforced by the Maryland State Board of Education two weeks ago, anyone indoors at AACPS schools and offices, with limited exceptions, must be masked. The regulations adopted by the state Board of Education can be found here.

Mask protocols for students and staff at schools on Fort George G. Meade will be impacted by federal directives since the base is located on federal property and may differ from AACPS masking protocols in incidences where base protocols are more stringent. Families at such schools will be notified by their schools as to the protocols.

To minimize the number of person-to-person interactions in school buildings, AACPS is limiting volunteer and parent/guardian access to buildings during the school day at the outset of the year. AACPS will adjust limits as appropriate.

Information related to the safety protocols employed by AACPS can be found here.

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COVID-19 cases and contact tracing

As was the case last year, positive cases of COVID-19 will continue to be documented and publicly recorded on AACPS’ COVID-19 dashboard, which can be found here.

The dashboard will reflect cases that arise as of September 8. It will be updated by 5 p.m. each Wednesday with data through the prior day, with the first update occurring on September 15.

AACPS works closely with the Anne Arundel County Department of Health both with regard to the identification of positive cases and the contact tracing process, which determines close contacts of a positive case who may have to quarantine. Details on that process can be found here.

Facilities projects, maintenance and operations work

AACPS’ Facilities Division undertook significant renovation or maintenance projects at more than 50 schools over the summer.

Additionally, all HVAC systems were inspected and programmed for additional operating hours to increase the introduction of outside air and air flow in all buildings. Air filters were also replaced in all buildings, with higher grade MERV filters being installed wherever possible.

Information for families

Guidance related to COVID-19 protocols and other school system matters can be found on AACPS’ website. Information will be updated as changes occur on the Fall 2021 reopening site.

Families who can’t find answers to their questions online can call the AACPS Family Information Line at 410-222-5001. The line offers service in English and Spanish. It features a directory to connect families to key departments and a place to leave voice mails that are retrieved at least twice daily.

New educational opportunities

As AACPS returns to in-person learning, approximately 580 students will make up the population of the new AACPS Virtual Academy. Enrolled are students in grades 3 through 12 who cannot return to in-person learning in the 2021-2022 school year.

Instruction for these students will take place virtually, with no in-person opportunities offered.

New faces in new places

There are new principals at 19 schools across the county. Eleven of those – Corkran and Southern middle schools; Brock Bridge, Edgewater, Hilltop, Meade Heights, Oakwood, and Quarterfield elementary schools; the Ferndale Early Education Center; Monarch Academy Annapolis; and the AACPS Virtual Academy – will be led educators in their first year as an AACPS principal.

AACPS has hired more than 550 new teachers for the coming school year, with more than 23 percent of those being diverse candidates. More than 130 of the new teachers are AACPS graduates.

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Student immunizations

It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure that their child’s immunizations and records are both up to date and on file with the school. Students who do not have documentation of required immunizations will not be allowed to attend school when the school year starts. Parents who have questions should check with their child’s school.

A list of required immunizations can be found online here.

Note: COVID-19 vaccinations are not among those required for school entry.

School meals, benefits applications

School breakfast and lunch will continue to be free for all students in the 2021-2022 school year. The Division of Food and Nutrition services will make arrangements for families of students who are quarantined to pick up meals for that student. Families who have that need should call 410-222-5900.

While meals are free, it is still necessary for families who would qualify for free or reduced-price meals to fill out a meal benefit application form. An accurate collection of data related to students eligible for free and reduced-price meals is critical to school system funding, but it also opens opportunities for families to receive additional benefits such as discounted internet access; reductions in SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement exam fees; and discounts on fees related to college applications.

The SY2021-2022 Meal Benefit Application can be found here.

School menus can be found here.

Bus routes

The new school year brings with it resumption of full bus runs across the county, with AACPS employees and contractors operating more than 600 buses performing multiple runs each day.

Per federal and state regulations, masks must be worn by all persons on school bus at all times, regardless of vaccination status.

The school system is adjusting daily to routes to adapt to the impact of the nationwide bus driver shortage as it attempts to run every bus route on time every day. Routes where that will not occur will be published daily on the AACPS website here beginning on September 8. Families should check this site for any changes to their student’s bus route.

Back-To-School Events

All schools have scheduled Back-To-School Nights to provide parents with a chance to learn more about the instruction that their children are receiving and to meet the teachers who are providing that instruction. Detailed information on dates and times for every school can be found on the AACPS website.

Security reminder for visitors to schools

To assist AACPS in maintaining a safe and secure environment for students and staff, county schools are equipped with A/I phones which allow office personnel to communicate with visitors to determine the nature of their visit before allowing admittance to the school office. Parents, community members, school system employees, and others planning to visit schools are reminded that AACPS security procedures require all visitors to show a government-issued identification card (such as a driver’s license) to be admitted into a school. The ID card is scanned through a system that cross-references visitors against sexual offender databases.

Visitors must not hold the front door of a school open to allow other visitors not in their party into a school.

Additionally, work to construct security vestibules (double entryways) that prevent visitors from having direct access to classrooms, continues at schools around the county.

Notices of emergency closings and delays

Changes to school schedules caused by inclement weather or other emergency conditions are announced through Connect-ED via telephone, email, and text message; posted on the school system’s website, Facebook page, Twitter page (@AACountySchools), and Instagram page (aacountyschools); posted on all individual school Twitter pages; and announced on major area radio and television stations, including AACPS-TV (Channel 96 on Comcast and Broadstripe, and Channel 36 on Verizon; HD broadcasts on Channel 996 on Comcast, Channel 496 on Broadstripe, and Channel 1961 on Verizon).

The most reliable places to look for updated closing and delayed opening information are the AACPS website and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Board meetings on TV and website

Meetings of the Board of Education, which typically occur on the first and third Wednesdays of most months, are broadcast live on AACPS-TV and on AACPS’ YouTube channel.

Source :

Category: Events, LIFE IN THE AREA, Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

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