Delegate Nicole A. Williams Newsletter: Distance Learning; Elections and More
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
There is a lot going on. This week Prince George’s County Public School announced that the 2020-2021 school year will start with distance learning for the first two quarters of the school year. There are a few exceptions. I have heard from a number of parents who obviously do not want to put their children in harm’s way but are also struggling about how they will go to work or work from home during this time. As CEO Dr. Goldson stated, there is no perfect solution but the goal is to protect and enrich the entire PGCPS community.
Speaking of goals we saw a small uptick in positive cases here in Maryland recently. However, we will continue to listen to the scientists and follow the advice of the medical experts here in Maryland. Please refrain from traveling to hot spots and if you do travel, please get tested when you return. There are lots of testing sites here in the County where you do not even need an appointment or exhibit symptoms.
Governor Hogan, decided last week that we will have in-person elections in November. While we did have some problems with the ballots reaching people in time and instructions in the incorrect language, we did not have any known instances of voter fraud with our primary election last month. We should make it as easy as possible for people to vote by mail in November, during a pandemic, not harder. Instead, we are looking for a new vendor to print the ballots.
The Governor did hold a press conference this week. Come to find out he has been busy writing a book that comes out later this month. The press conference was about an identity theft scheme involving $501 million dollars in fraudulent unemployment claims. A number of legit unemployed people had their funds frozen because of this. The stolen identities came from past national data breaches. While a large number of legitimate claims have now been processed, there are still 24,000 unemployment applications waiting resolution here in Maryland.
Locally, the County Council will hold a public hearing on July 21 on CB-48-2020 which is a bill to increase the Homestead Property Tax Credit Cap. If this measure passes the County Council, it will go on the ballot in the November general election. Currently this Tax Credit is capped at 5%. If placed on the ballot and passes, the cap will increase to 10% which will allow the County to collect additional funds from your property taxes.
Everyday there is something new and I did not even discuss any of the national news like Trump pardoning his friend or Governors suing local mayors for issuing mandatory mask orders to keep people safe. This is crazy and we still do not have justice for Breonna Taylor.
Prince George's County Public Schools Reopening Plan
Distance Learning Instruction
Lessons held 5 days a week through the end of the second grading quarter in January.
Lessons will also be broadcast on PGCPS-TV for younger students
Technology will be provided on a 1:1 ratio.
Digital Device Distribution
Students will continue using PGCPS-supplied Chromebooks distributed in the spring
Additional Chromebooks will be available for pick-up in the weeks ahead and Wi-Fi hotspots will be established
The Connect PGCPS initiative will continue to provide Internet access to families.
Students and Family Supports
All schools will serve as meal sites and offer twice-weekly pickups, similar to the model utilized this spring
PGCPS will establish Parent Support Centers throughout the County to assist families with technology support and other aspects of distance learning.
Aug. 31 – First Day of School
Dec. 1-18 – Depending on health conditions, PGCPS will offer families the option to begin hybrid instruction at the start of the third quarter for the remainder of the school year.
February to June – Second Semester. If possible, will deliver hybrid instruction with two days of in-person learning and three days of distance learning. Full-time distance learning can continue for those students who opted in.
PGCPS will release a report next week outlining how it will support English language learners, those with special needs and youth from families with low-income during this phase.
Prince George's County Free COVID-19 Testing Sites
The County Health Department now has five free coronavirus testing sites. You do not need insurance or an appointment. The sites are open Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 6 pm unless otherwise noted.
First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville will be available until July 30th. Wayne K. Curry Sports & Learning Center is closed to the general public from July 13 through July 31 for testing of County public safety employees. There are also test sites operated by the State like the one at the Six Flags Amusement Park and private entities such as some CVS locations. Click here to find a test site in Prince George's County.
November General Election
Every precinct will be open to voters on Election Day, November 3, 2020
Early voting is October 22 through October 29.
The State Board of Elections will mail each voter an application for an absentee ballot if you do not wish to vote in person.
Ballot Drop Boxes is not part of the plan for the November election.
It is not clear right now if precinct locations that are currently closed will remain off-limits.
Election Judges are needed for November. A large number of our election judges are Seniors who may not be able to serve this election because of the pandemic. Click here to apply to serve as an election judge.
According to the Maryland Department of Labor most of the claims filed have been resolved. However, there are still about 24,000 claims that are not resolved. If you or someone you know is continuing to have problems, please let my office know. Please use this Unemployment Insurance Tracker Form or contact my office directly for additional assistance. To directly access the BEACON One-Stop site to file a claim, visit https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/claimant/
This County bill is regarding the proposed Charter amendment to increase the Homestead Property Tax Credit Cap. It is scheduled for a public hearing before the Prince George's County Council on Tuesday, July 21st at 1:30 PM. If passed by the County Council then this matter will be on the ballot in November. If the voters approve this referendum it will allow the County Council to increase the assessment cap from 5% to as much as 10% of your property’s increased assessment value. This will allow the County to collect additional funds from your property taxes. If you’d like to be a person of record or to testify remotely before the County Council on this issue, you need to contact the Clerk of the Council’s Office about CB-48-20 and register HERE. For those unable to use this portal, written comments may be emailed to: email@example.com or faxed to (301) 952-5178.
Reid Temple AME Church 2020 IMPACT Conference - SHIFT!!
I am excited to participate and speak at the 2020 IMPACT Conference tomorrow at Reid Temple AME Church in Glen Dale, Maryland.
The online conference will have panels on Social Justice, Social Action and Social Impact. Click here to register.
Police Reform and Accountability in Maryland Workgroup
The Police Reform and Accountability workgroup met again yesterday to review national perspectives on Police Reform and Accountability. If you did not get a chance to view the meeting live you can watch it here on YouTube.
Community Survey for New Police Chief Search
As you know, Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski resigned a few weeks ago. County Executive Angela Alsobrooks would like to hear from you about what you want in a new police chief. You can access the County’s survey here to provide your input.