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Howard County Public Schools Teachers, Parents Voice Concerns Over Plans To Return To In-Person Learning

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) -- As many Maryland school districts prepare to return back to the classrooms in about two weeks, some educators in Howard County are worried about safety inside school buildings.

Hundreds of Howard County Public Schools educators and parents gathered Tuesday night for a car caravan.

"We just feel like the process is being rushed right now," Jen Retterer, a Howard County Schools teacher, said.


"We're here really to fight for the kids and their safety, along with all the educators," Steve Burnett, a Howard County Schools counselor, said.

Many educators who attended the car caravan said it would be premature to allow students and staff back into schools when their safety is not guaranteed.

"I am nervous because I am afraid that there's going to be some spread of COVID," Retterer said.

"We really want to get teachers vaccinated before they have to be entering schools," Burnett told WJZ.

The event, organized by the Howard County Education Association, is part of the latest series of actions by teachers and school staff across the state expressing a lack of confidence in reopening plans.

"Wanting and caring for our own health and safety does not mean that we don't care about teaching our kids," Retterer said.

Event organizers said they will continue to fight to be included in the discussion for a safe reopening of schools.

"Sometimes you go slow to go fast and think we're pushing the issue a little too quickly," Burnett said.

The Anne Arundel County Teachers Association also organized a car caravan Tuesday to voice similar demands for a safer school reopening.

"What we're most concerned about is that we have safety protocols and measures in place that are consistent and clear," Russell Leone, President of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County, said.

In both Anne Arundel and Howard counties, a hybrid learning model is set to begin on March 1.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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