He says the data shows school reopening do not spread COVID-19.
Annapolis, Md (KM) Governor Larry Hogan is calling on all counties in Maryland toe reopen their schools for hybrid learning. During a news conference on Thursday, Hogan said there’s no reason to keep children home as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19. “Data from contact tracing and epidemiologists have indicated that school re-openings do not increase community spread, or contribute to increased hospitalization rates,” he said.
The Governor is calling on school systems to begin hybrid instruction by March 1st, or sooner. That’s where students are divided into cohorts. One cohort comes to school Monday and Tuesday for in-person learning , and spends the rest of the week in remote instruction. The other cohort attends classes Thursday and Friday, and spends Monday through Wednesday doing virtual learning.
Hogan also says students could fall behind if they continuing remaining out of school. “It’s now estimated that by the end of the school year, the cumulative learning loss for students could equate to at least five to as many as nine months on average,” he said. “With the losses disproportionally impacting students of color and low income and disadvantaged students even more.”
Dr. Jinlene Chan, the Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health, says transmission of the COVID-19 virus in schools is rare when precautions are taken. “Studies have indicated that transmission in school–in person transmission in schools–is relatively uncommon when there is effective implementation of the mitigation strategies, including distancing, use of masks and cleaning,” she said.
There was a lot emphasis on students suffering academically by not being in school. But Dr. Karen Salmon, Maryland Superintendent of Schools, said it’s not just what takes place in the classroom. “School support the development of social, emotional skills through interaction with teachers and peers,” she said. “They establish a safe environment for learning, and often address nutritional, behavioral, health and other special needs, as well as facilitate physical activity,” she said.
Dr. Salmon also announced that another $780-million in federal relief is available for school systems to address the affects of the pandemic.
Frederick County Public Schools are scheduled to begin in February.
By Kevin McManus