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The Covid-19 Pandemic

The Dripby Ian Round5:01 pmApr 17, 20200

Maryland officials order schools closed through May 15

The state will reassess, but reopening this semester seems unlikely, as the numbers of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase

Above: As expected, State School Superintendent Karen Salmon extends the closure of Maryland’s public schools as coronavirus deaths continue to rise. (governor.maryland.gov)

Maryland public schools will be closed for at least four more weeks — until May 15, Superintendent Karen Salmon said on Friday.

The announcement leaves open the possibility that schools could open before the end of the school year, but that prospect is unlikely, as the numbers of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase.

“With regards to the remainder of the school year and the summer, we will use this time to examine every option, and continue to develop a long-term plan for recovery,” Salmon said at a press conference in Annapolis. “I understand the impact of the uncertainty of this situation.”

Maryland’s districts are scheduled to end the school year between June 9 and June 22. School closures had previously been scheduled to end next Friday, April 24.

Super-sizing Summer School

Salmon said districts are planning to expand summer school, and are ramping up teacher trainings for online platforms.

Cheryl Bost, the president of the Maryland State Education Association, said it was the right decision.

“Everyone’s safety is paramount, but we remain hopeful that educators and students will be able to spend time together again at their schools before this school year is over,” Bost said, in a statement.

In other news, Governor Larry Hogan said his administration would release its “roadmap to recovery” next week, but that his stay-at-home order and physical distancing measures will remain in place for several more weeks.

He said he will only gradually reopen the state after two consecutive weeks of declining hospitalizations and deaths. He said the rising number of known COVID-19 cases won’t impact the decision to reopen schools and businesses, because the numbers reflect increased testing capacity.

Addressing protests of stay-at-home orders across the country, Hogan said he understands the frustration.

“I want to get our economy back as quickly as possible just as much as anybody does,” he said. “But we’re going to have to do this in a safe manner.”

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