Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates & Guidance
ACPS to Utilize New Online Learning Platform to Allow for High-Quality Engaging Instruction
The Allegany County Board of Education voted to start the 2020-2021 school year virtually, utilizing a new learning management platform that will offer learning opportunities that can very closely mirror face-to-face instruction. Students will begin their virtual learning on September 8, 2020, and educators will return August 19-21, 2020, and September 2-3, 2020, in preparation for the start of the school year.
Schoology is a learning management system (LMS) that has all the tools necessary for educators to create engaging content, design lessons, and assess student understanding. With Schoology, teachers can quickly and easily create media-rich lessons, reuse past courses, and even embed content from Google Drive, Microsoft Office, YouTube, and more. Additionally, teachers will have the ability to pace and track students individually, connect them in collaborative groups, and differentiate and blend instruction.
ACPS will begin the year online with shortened class periods and schedules that will allow for time in the afternoons for teachers to be available to answer questions and address potential concerns. Parents should also be on the lookout in the near future for information about attending small group sessions to learn more about the use of Schoology.
ACPS educators have been participating in virtual sessions with representatives from Schoology in order to learn the platform’s basic features, including how to create virtual live classrooms, how to create assignments and assessments, and how to provide “offline” opportunities for students without reliable access to the Internet at home. One requirement included in MSDE’s Recovery Plan is that all school systems ensure that Maryland College and Career Ready Standards from Pre-K through grade twelve are taught in all content areas and that state frameworks are followed. For this reason, ACPS content area supervisors are working collaboratively with teachers to create courses that meet this requirement.
According to ACPS Coordinator of Professional Learning, Dr. George Brown, “The really good thing about Schoology is that teachers will have the autonomy to ultimately create and deliver lessons, which wasn’t possible this spring due to limitations with Google Classroom.” Dr. Brown went on to say, “I am confident that if each teacher is prepared to provide high-quality instruction via Schoology, he/she will be prepared to provide high-quality instruction, regardless of the instructional situation. Will there be a learning curve for all involved? Absolutely! But we will provide support to educators, students, and parents/guardians as we, together, learn to navigate Schoology.”
The school board’s decision to open the school year virtually will also postpone all athletic and extra curricular activities effective as of the time of this release (8/4/20 at 2 p.m). Central office leadership and school system administrators will continue to work in collaboration with the local Health Department to monitor COVID-19 to provide updates to the ACPS Recovery Plan, including athletics and extra curricular activities.
NOTE: An updated Post-Labor Day calendar will be posted/shared as soon as it is available.
The following press release was issued by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association. The impact of this decision on ACPS extracurricular activities will be forthcoming in the near future.MPSSAA Fall and Winter Competition Seasons Postponed
The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) in consultation with the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and the Public School Superintendent Association of Maryland (PSSAM) has decided to postpone the 2020 high school fall and winter competition season during the first semester. This decision comes in light of the recent announcements of local school systems to begin education virtually and provides each school system with options for the gradual increase of student engagement for the physical and social-emotional health of students.
With this announcement, local school systems will be able to use MPSSAA waiver regulations as approved by the Maryland State Board of Education on June 23, 2020 for student engagement during the first semester. The MPSSAA, the MDH, and the PSSAM will continue to collaborate on finalizing a hybrid two-semester plan focused on student engagement options in the first semester and modified competition seasons for all sports during the second semester. Details of the hybrid two-semester plan will be available in the coming weeks prior to the start of the 2020-2021 academic year.
The health and safety of student participants, coaches, and officials is a primary concern for the return of interscholastic athletics and activities. The MPSSAA, the PSSAM, and the Maryland State Department of Education collectively share a commitment for the return of these highly beneficial educational programs when it is deemed safe for all school communities.
ACPS RECOVERY PLAN UPDATE:
The Allegany County Public School system recognizes that schools are a vital and irreplaceable component of a community. Schools not only provide academic services for students but other services such as social and emotional learning, counseling services, and food and nutrition.
The school closures on March 13, 2020 in response to the unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis were heartbreaking for our students, staff, and community. How and when schools in Allegany County reopen impacts more than just students and teachers – it impacts the entire community.
The Allegany County Public Schools staff are faced with a tremendous challenge in preparing for the 2020-2021 school year. We are truly vested in doing what is best and what is right for our students and staff’s well-being. We are using the “Maryland Together: Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Education” and Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As the Allegany County Public School System continues to work towards recovery, we would like to provide parents, students, and staff with the status of our Recovery Plan.
ACPS is currently reviewing recovery options for the three stages within Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery in preparation for the opening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year, which is currently scheduled for August 26, 2020, for students. An ACPS staff sub-committee has been formulating our plan with various community members, staff from the Allegany County Health Department and staff from multiple ACPS departments including facilities, food service, health/wellness, instruction, operations, safety/security, technology, and transportation in order to ensure the feasibility of all recovery options. The feedback gathered to date is being carefully considered and appropriate revisions to our recovery plan are being incorporated.
Within the next two weeks details of the draft ACPS recovery plan will be provided to parents, students, and staff for their review and comment. There will also be a survey sent to all families with student(s) currently enrolled requesting input by the end of July 2020. The school system's final recovery plan will be presented to the Board of Education at the August 11, 2020, regularly scheduled monthly meeting. The approved recovery plan will then be submitted to the Maryland State Department of Education by August 14, 2020, for review and final approval.
Please note that during Stage 2 within the Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery, all ACPS families will have the option of fully remote learning for health and/or family reasons.
UPDATE REGARDING THE REOPENING OF SCHOOLS IN THE FALL 2020:
The Allegany County Public School System will follow the Reopening Maryland Schools K-12 Decision Matrix.
During step one of this matrix, the Governor’s Office, in coordination with members of the coronavirus recovery team and experts at the Maryland Department of Health, are monitoring key health metrics and identifying the appropriate stage within Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery. The State Superintendent of Schools, in consultation with the State Board of Education, subsequently determines the operational status of the schools during each stage.
ACPS is currently reviewing our recovery options for each stage in preparation for the opening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year, which is scheduled for August 26, 2020, for students. Staff will develop plans with input from multiple stakeholders, and these plans will be shared during the August 11, 2020, meeting of the Board of Education. School system's plans must be submitted to the Maryland State Department of Education by August 14, 2020, for review and final approval.
ACPS COMMUNITY HOTSPOTS: Allegany County Public Schools is providing community hotspots in community partner locations such as fire departments and churches. Use the network called “ACPS-Hotspot” to connect. The password is the ACPS Community Helpdesk number 3018769819. A captive portal requests your compliance with the Telecommunications Acceptable Use Policy and then provides you access to the Internet. As a community hotspot is ready with WiFi access, it will appear in the list to the right with a map showing exact access points.
These community hotspots enable you to access the Internet easily. This WiFi is intended for use by ACPS staff, students, and parents for instructional purposes. All ACPS WiFi traffic is logged and filtered for CIPA compliance.
The public should remain in their vehicles at all times adhering to social distancing mandates as set forth by Governor Hogan.
ACPS WIFI ACCESS IN PARKING LOTS: Allegany County Public Schools is providing an Internet connection that is accessible from your vehicle in parking lots at our schools. Starting Friday, May 8, 2020, ACPS will provide external WiFi access in several locations. Please monitor the ACPS crisis management website periodically for these school locations.
Please use the network called “ACPS-ENT” to connect. USER ID is “hotspot” and the PASSWORD is “acps”.
The parking lot WiFi capability enables you to access the Internet easily. This WiFi is intended for use by ACPS staff, students, and parents for instructional purposes. All ACPS WiFi traffic is logged and filtered for CIPA compliance. Additionally, all exterior areas of the school campus are subject to video recording.
The public should remain in their vehicles at all times adhering to social distancing mandates as set forth by Governor Hogan.
ATTENTION PARENTS AND GUARDIANS:
ACPS encourages and highly recommends that parents wear masks/cloth face coverings during meal and/or packet pickups to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus. In a recommendation released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity, and they would recommend wearing a mask or cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
The recommendation is less about preventing the wearer from contracting the coronavirus themselves than it is about limiting asymptomatic people from unknowingly spreading the disease. Wearing cloth masks, the CDC said, could “help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”
ACPS IT Community Help Desk: 301-876-9819
ACPS has established an Instructional Technology Help Desk number to offer assistance for computer problems and accessing online instructional resources. The helpdesk is live from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you need assistance outside of these hours, please email ITHelpdesk@acpsmd.org. If you are on a broadband connected Windows 10 computer, we may ask for remote access to your computer via Microsoft Quick Access.
A selection committee comprised of both ACPS faculty and administrators and several community members have unanimously chosen Zach Alkire as the next head football coach at Fort Hill High School.
The Allegany County Board of Education voted to start the 2020-2021 school year virtually, utilizing a new learning management platform that will offer learning opportunities that can very closely mirror face-to-face instruction.
If a parent/guardian has not yet registered their child in his/her home school, please contact the school to make an appointment to complete registration.
The Allegany County Public School System is proud to announce that students in the graduating Class of 2020 have been accepted to 43 different colleges, universities, and technical schools across the country.
The Summer Intervention for Middle School and Reading will begin on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.
Frequently Asked Questions
ACPS Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I register my child for school?
- What immunizations are required for school?
- How can I find out what school my child will attend?
- How do I apply for an out-of-district permit for my child to attend a different
- How can I follow-up on an application I submitted for employment?
- How can I find more information about substitute teaching?
- Where can I find information on assessment scores?
- Where do I find information on school bus routes?
- How do I find out information on obtaining my GED?
- How can I obtain a copy of my diploma or transcripts?
- How do I reserve school facilities?
- How do I verify employment for a current or former ACPS employee?
- Can I check and pay for my student's food charges electronically?
- What is the ACPS Foundation, Inc.?
- How can I make a donation?
- How does the school system respond to instances of bed bugs and lice in schools?
- What do I need to know about the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) 2019?
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