State Superintendent Karen B.Salmon Urges Schools to Reopen

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State Superintendent Karen B. Salmon urged Maryland schools to reopen and bring students back into the buildings at the December 8th Maryland State Board of Education meeting.

During the meeting, Salmon emphasized how “ the lack of in-person instruction is starkly reinforcing the inequities embedded in our society, and continuing the perpetuation of achievement and learning gaps.” This statement comes after recent statistics revealed more Maryland students, including MCPS students, are failing classes during virtual learning.

As part of the state’s plan of reopening schools, the MSDE has worked jointly with the Maryland Department of Health to create guidelines and local boards of education and superintendents to follow. Salmon also asked for teachers, school staff, and early child care workers to be a priority group for the COVID-19 vaccine in Maryland’s tier system.

While speaking at the MSDE meeting, Jinlene Chan, Acting Deputy Maryland Department of Health Secretary for Public Health Services, cited studies that show that “transmission in schools is low, especially for younger students, when mitigation strategies are effectively implemented.” Chan outlined what kind of precautions schools would have to take, such as social distancing, proper sanitation, and making face masks mandatory. “Experience in other states have shown that students can return safely to school in limited numbers,” Chan argued.

MCPS’ current plan has students returning to in-person school as early as January 12. However, MCPS has made it clear that specific health metrics must be met in order for this to occur.

By Amy Lusignan

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