Md. School Board Decides On Instruction Hours For Students, In-Person Reopening Plans

The Board met  on Tuesday.


Annapolis, Md. (KM) School systems have a little more time to implement the number of hours of teacher-supervised instruction for students under a plan adopted on Tuesday by the Maryland State Board of Education. The panel voted in favor of requiring an average of three-and-a-half hours each day of such instruction.. It must be put in place by the end of the calendar year.

A plan presented by Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon,  would have required school systems to put this requirement in place by September 28th. Cheryl Bost, President of the Maryland State Education  Association, said this would place an undue hardship on school systems around the state. “And it was causing a lot of concern because schools have already started. In many places, students are already in school in virtual environments and they have their schedules in front of them. So this would have caused all schedules to be redone within the next couple of weeks which was quite disturbing,” she said.

This plan by Dr. Salmon follows calls last week by Governor Larry Hogan encouraging schools to reopen to in-person classroom instruction. During a news conference, he said students, teachers and other staff would be safe from the coronavirus if they took all of the safety precautions, such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

Many school systems, including Frederick County, are holding virtual instruction for the first semester.  The local Board of Education is expected to review that instructional mode later this year.

When the original plan by Dr. Salmon was introduced last weekend, Bost says MSEA began a petition drive on line, and more than 20,000 Marylanders signed. “So we believe that it was that voice of educators, parents and students that helped make the decision they came to today, this compromise, possible,” she said.

A second vote taken by the State School Board would require all school systems to re-evaluate their plans for in-person instruction by the end of the first quarter, which is about mid-November.

Another recommendation  passed by the State School Board requires schools to be open 180 days per day, and six hours each  day.

“Today was a victory for our students and our educators who are trying to start this school year off in unprecedented times, and they don’t have a new requirement hanging over their heads,” says Bost.


By Kevin McManus