Public Schools Go Back Online After Virus Spike In Harford County

Elizabeth Janney

HARFORD COUNTY, MD — Due to rising coronavirus case and positivity rates in the county, students in Harford County Public Schools will return to virtual learning, according to authorities.

"We will return to virtual learning effective this Friday, Nov. 13," Superintendent Sean Bulson announced Monday.

Instruction will be 100 percent virtual, with schools closed to students. In addition, officials said Learning Support Centers would be closed.

Bulson said the move came because Harford County had reached a daily new case rate of at least 15 per 100,000 and its positivity rate was above 5 percent, two metrics established by the Maryland Department of Education in its COVID-19 Guidance for Maryland Schools.

Harford County has 4,130 confirmed cases of the virus, according to the Maryland Department of Health, which said 80 people in the county had died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, as of Monday, Nov. 9.

The positivity rate in Harford County is 6.34 percent, which is above the World Health Organization's recommendation of 5 percent for safe reopening.

In addition, the case rate in Harford County is 19.57 as of Monday, indicating dangerous spread.

The school system had begun a hybrid model in October to give students the option of in-person instruction in phases.

With schools closing, Bulson gave these program updates:

  • Meal kits will be provided from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday.

  • Sports and conditioning schedules are on hold.

  • Tech Support for families will continue.

"There are many details to work through, but as the county COVID-19 metrics have met our threshold, we must take action to ensure the health of our students and staff," Bulson said Monday.

"When county statistics fall below 15 per 100,000 new positive cases per day, as well as below a 5 percent positivity rate for one week, we will initiate discussions to return to our current hybrid status," Bulson said.

"If the metrics continue to fall, or stay at the lower rates for a second week," Bulson added, "our goal would be to return to our current hybrid at the beginning of the third week."

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This article originally appeared on the Bel Air Patch