MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Just three days after announcing a new color-coded positivity model, MCPS is getting rid of it, along with the threshold to determine whether a school should transition from in-person to virtual learning.

Earlier this week, the school system announced that if 5% or more of unrelated students and staff in a school test positive in a 14 day period, they would consider a transition to virtual learning. But on Friday MCPS wrote to the community that they are eliminating the threshold to align with other school systems, and after receiving more clarification from state officials.

“Moving forward, MCPS and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will examine schools on a case-by-case basis to determine if any particular school needs to transition to virtual learning for a designated period of time,” MCPS wrote.

In the midst of this, on Wednesday 11 of the 209 MCPS schools went virtual after hitting that previous 5% threshold. The next day another 115 schools entered that red area, but remained open. This confusion left parents like Margery Smelkinson extremely frustrated, especially since the district also failed to update the new color-coded model daily as promised.

“It’s a very outdated metric and we need to move away from this,” said Smelkinson. “And we cannot let school closures be the answer to surges. We cannot normalize that, there will be surges. It’s an endemic virus. We’re going to see this all the time and we simply need to manage this without closing the doors.”

In making the decision to switch to virtual learning, MCPS says they will look at the number of students and staff who test positive, students in quarantine, absent staff for COVID-related reasons, and the level of spread of the virus. 

MCPS says by Sunday there will be an update about the 11 schools that are currently closed. For more information, click here.