MARYLAND — This fall Maryland schools are expected to be back in session, whether it's in person or online, or a combination of the two. The Maryland State Department of Education is requiring school systems to post their plans on their respective websites by Aug. 14.
"Daily school operations will likely include increased health and hygiene measures such as wearing masks, temperature checks, hand-washing, frequent sanitation, and social distancing, especially for elementary students," the Maryland State Department of Education wrote in its guidelines for reopening, released this spring.
School days may be staggered in block schedules.
"Reduced class sizes may be expected to become the norm, consisting of students placed in the smallest classes possible with desks that are placed 6 feet apart," education officials said. Face coverings would be encouraged in areas where this distance is not feasible.
Assemblies and other large school functions may be impossible. Physical education, art classes, IEP meetings and parent-teacher conferences may be conducted by video chat. Parents may be restricted from visiting to prevent the spread of the virus.
"Additional considerations will be given to holding classes outdoors, in the gymnasium, and other spaces when possible," according to the.
In the back-to-school guidelines state education officials released as Maryland entered stage two of its reopening, they outlined areas that would require new protocols, such as cleaning and disinfecting, transportation, meal service, classroom layout, isolation, remote learning and more.
The guidelines are intended to ensure the safety of students, staff and families while remaining flexible, responsive and achievable in the K-12 setting. These are guidelines, not mandates. School administrators have been advised to review the guidance, adapt the strategies for their respective districts and develop plans for communicating the plans to families and the public.
Some parents are balancing the desire to send their children back to school with fears of potentially exposing their kids — and themselves — to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
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