State Health Officials Provide School Reopening Protocols
Union Leaders Asked to Aid Effort to Get Students Back Into Classrooms
President Biden Signs Executive Order Supporting Safe Reopening of Schools
Governor Larry Hogan and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon today called on all Maryland school systems to return to hybrid instruction—a combination of in-person and virtual learning—no later than Monday, March 1.
“Every single Maryland student must have at least the opportunity to return to attending school in some form or fashion,” said Governor Hogan. “Our children simply cannot afford any more endless roadblocks, or any more moving of the goalposts. The time has come to get all of our kids back in the classroom, and to open the schools.”
Earlier today, President Biden signed an executive order to support students and safely reopen schools. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, has said, “the default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school, or to get them back to school.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recently stated, “Children absolutely need to return to in-school learning for their healthy development and well-being, and so safety in schools and in the community must be a priority.”
School Reopening Protocols. State health officials are providing school systems with additional school reopening school guidance and educational design options based on scientific evidence, recent studies on the impact of school reopening on community transmission, and the effects of school closures on children and learning. State health officials recommend daily in-person learning for students with disabilities and special learning needs, phased daily in-person learning for elementary students, and hybrid learning for secondary students. Read the guidance.
Letter to Union Leadership. Governor Hogan and Dr. Salmon sent a letter to Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost urging her to aid the effort to get students back into classrooms. Read the letter.
$780 Million in Additional Funding. Dr. Salmon recently announced another $780 million in federal relief for school systems to address the effects of the pandemic, and a total of more than $1.2 billion has been made available. In addition, the governor’s FY 2022 recovery budget provides a record $7.5 billion for K-12 funding, holding schools harmless from the impact of declining enrollment figures, and ensuring that every jurisdiction receives more funding than in the previous year.
Education Staff Prioritized for Vaccines. Based on the recommendations of America’s leading medical experts, Maryland has prioritized teachers and education staff to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. School systems have begun implementing plans to vaccinate staff. Following the press conference, Dr. Salmon and education staff from across the state received their COVID-19 vaccinations.
PPE and Testing. The state has provided school systems with 2 million masks and 200,000 face shields, as well as hand sanitizer, gloves, and gowns. Since last spring, the state has made testing resources widely available to local jurisdictions.
Data Dashboard. Epidemiologists from the Maryland Department of Health have provided a dashboard that tracks outbreak-associated cases in schools.