MSEA, Others Call For Virtual Learning To Continue When School Begins In The Fall


They say in-classroom learning is too risky during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Annapolis, Md (KM). The Maryland State Education Association is calling for a virtual opening of schools this year. During a virtual news conference on Tuesday, MSEA President Cheryl Bost said the number of COVID-19 cases is  on the rise, and it’s not  safe to send children into the classroom. “Though we’re a better position than many other states, today {Tues} saw the biggest daily increases in Maryland in more than a month,” she says. “PPE {personal protective equipment} is in short supply for health care workers, and widespread testing with immediate results is sparse unless  you’re a professional athlete.”

Schools in Maryland have been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students have been involved in distance learning, taking their classes on line.

Bost says the MSEA would like to see virtual learning at least through the fall semester. “Making this decision now would give every district a full six weeks to plan and troubleshoot around one known and understood model of learning,” she says.

“Caution now makes it more likely that we will be able to transition to a hybrid model after the year begins,” Bost continues. “And possibly a mostly in-person model later in the school when it is safe.”

MSEA was joined by the Baltimore Teachers Union and the Maryland PTA in  calling for   virtual learning to continue into the fall when school buildings usually open for students for another academic year. Representatives from all three organizations signed a letter to Governor Larry Hogan and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon, calling for a virtual opening of schools in the fall.

Bost took issue with those who say schools can reopen safely because of the lower transmission and mortality rate for  the coronavirus for those under 18. “Not only does that completely ignore the adults in the schools who would undoubtedly have a higher rate of transmission in that,” she said. “But it also presupposes that there are a number of deaths of students and educators that are acceptable. There are not!”

The Frederick County Board of Education is considering a hybrid model for the 2020–2021 academic year where students would attend in-person classes twice a week, and continue with distance learning the remaining three days.

A virtual town hall on how to reopen local public schools is scheduled for Wednesday evening from 6:00 to 8:00.



By Kevin McManus