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Schools Grapple With Scaled-Back Reopening Plans As COVID-19 Cases In Maryland Surge

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- As the number of coronavirus cases in Maryland surges, schools are faced with a dilemma about how to proceed with the remainder of the first semester of the school year.

On Tuesday evening, the Baltimore City Public Schools system said it's scaling back its reopening plan. Instead of moving forward with some in-person learning at 44 schools by the middle of the month, just 25 schools will reopen.

Some students returned to the classroom in Baltimore on Monday. The school system's reopening plan prioritizes students for whom in-person learning would be the most beneficial, including those with special needs, English language learners, homeless students and those who have fallen behind in the virtual environment.

In Harford County, Superintendent Sean Bulson announced all students will return to virtual-only learning effective Friday. The announcement came as the county reports at least 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.

Once the county falls below a 5% positivity rate for one week, the school system will begin discussing a return to a hybrid status.

Parents with full-time jobs said the transition will be difficult.

"Being home is not good for working parents," Kevin Bowling said.

"We weren't surprised that that was going to happen, we kind of saw the numbers coming and predicted as much, as least our family did," David Ryden said.


Anne Arundel County is also suspending school athletic practices and extracurricular activities.

"The numbers just present a daunting situation for us and a situation where the superintendent didn't feel like it was prudent with continuing with the in-person activities," Anne Arundel County Public Schools spokesperson Bob Mosier said.

So far, the Howard County Public Schools system has not announced any changes to its at-home virtual model for the time being.

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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