This is the first time since last year for full in-person instruction.
Frederick, Md (KM) Wednesday, August 18th, was the first day of school in Frederick County for the 2021-22 academic year. School System spokesman Brandon Oland says this is the first time since March, 2020, that all school buildings have reopened for full in-person learning.
Oland says he visited Frederick and Oakdale High Schools on Wednesday, and the students he spoke with were eager to get back to class. “It was a great to see them reconnecting,” he says.
He also says many are looking forward to numerous extracurricular activities. “I was right outside a drama classroom at Frederick High where they’re starting to already think about what they’re going to do this fall for theater production,” says Oland.
And the teachers and other staff were also excited about starting school. “It’s impossible to not be inspired by the teachers and staff who are so excited to get students back in full,”: Oland says. .
In March, 2020, schools were closed in Maryland to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Students had to continue their instruction on line. Later on the Board of Education decided on a hybrid learning model, where students were divided into cohorts. Each group would attend in-person classes two days a week, and, for the remainder of the week, the students took their lessons at home on a computer.
Oland says there are still about 1,000 students who have decided to continue with virtual learning this fall. He says a total of about 45,000 students returned to class on Wednesday, although he admits that a “rough estimate.”
The new school year starts off with a mask mandate put into place by the Superintendent. Students, teachers, other staff and visitors to school buildings must wear face coverings to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. They aren’t required to wear them outside, but are encouraged to do so. Superintendent Dr. Theresa Alban says wearing face coverings help keep in-person learning safe.
Oland says for the most part, many people are adhering to the requirement to wear masks. “We’re trying to do a safe reopening. We want to make sure we preserve these opportunities for students throughout the school,” he says. “We want to make sure we continue with the in-person learning because that’s what we need. We’re trying to be cautious here at the beginning of the school year. Everyone seems to be rolling with the punches with the safety protocols.”
Superintendent Alban says this mask policy could be revisited at a later date if the COVID-19 situation improves.
By Kevin McManus