Maryland Public Schools to Continue Online Learning Through May 15

Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon announced during a news conference with Gov. Larry Hogan that Maryland public schools will continue to remain closed through May 15. Therefore, all Maryland public schools will proceed with online learning and students will not return to their school buildings during this time frame.

The decision was made to continue adhering to statewide physical distancing measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Salmon did not go as far as to say that the public school buildings in Maryland would remain closed for the remainder of the academic year, unlike Washington D.C.’s and Virginia’s public schools.

On Friday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the District’s public school buildings would remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) announced in March that Virginia’s public school buildings would remain closed for the remainder of the school building.

“With regards to the remainder of the school year and the summer, we will use this time to examine every option, and continue to develop a long-term plan for recovery,” Salmon said.

Salmon said it isn’t possible to talk about reopening schools until Maryland completes its four building blocks to recovering from the public health emergency.

Hogan announced four building blocks Wednesday as guidelines Maryland needs to follow before the state’s economy can reopen. The building blocks include (1) expanding testing capability, (2) increasing hospital surge capacity, (3) increasing supply of personal protective equipment, and (4) developing stronger contact tracing operations.

“State and local school officials are actively preparing for a number of scenarios depending on when our educators and students would be able to re-enter school buildings,” Salmon said.

According to Salmon, local school superintendents are discussing plans with their school systems about creating additional digital learning opportunities over the summer as a way to recover lost instruction time from this academic year.

Salmon said these times of uncertainty are especially stressful for high school seniors.

“Local superintendents have been working on a number of alternatives to ensure our high school seniors receive the recognition they deserve,” Salmon said.

The State of Maryland has received $45.8 million from the federal CARES act, Salmon said. The funds will be used to support child care programs for essential workers.

After the announcement, Montgomery County Public Schools tweeted that information will be sent to community members in the coming days about the continuation of online learning.

Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost released a statement in support of Salmon’s announcement. Bost said there will also need to be a plan in place for how students recover from this public health crisis.

“Recent weeks have magnified existing inequities—whether of technology access, food security, or otherwise—that our students face every day and that challenge their ability to succeed in school. We must come together to address these issues over the short- and long-term,” Bost said.

Tweet Summary of Hogan’s News Conference Friday

Here’s a play-by-play of Hogan’s coronavirus news conference with Salmon in the form of tweets:

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About Deirdre Byrne

Deirdre Byrne is a social media coordinator for Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at dbyrne@mymcmedia.org or on twitter at @DeirdreByrneMCM.

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