As this school year moves into its fourth quarter, and the 2021-2022 school year grows ever nearer, systems in Southern Maryland are starting to make plans for 100% in-person instruction.
At a St. Mary’s County school board meeting last week, Superintendent Scott Smith said, “We’re not planning this again,” referencing a hybrid learning model where educators teach students in-person and virtually at the same time. “We’re going to be normal” next year, “that means 65 kids on a bus, 25 kids in a classroom, that means there’s going to be a couple hundred kids in lunchroom,” he claimed.
“There is a great possibility that we’re going to have to continue to wash our hands, sanitize and wear our masks … the reason we are going to have a regular school year is I will never ask of a St. Mary’s County teacher what has been asked of a St. Mary’s County teacher this year,” Smith said, adding “it is unbelievable what they’ve been able to do.”
Moving forward, the superintendent mentioned there will be talk of “what a virtual option might look like” when more information is available from the Maryland State Department of Education regarding an approved virtual education for the next school year.
On Tuesday, Karin Bailey, school board chair, told Southern Maryland News the board supports the superintendent’s plans for next school year.
Calvert intends on full in-person instruction
In a letter to parents sent out late last week, Calvert public schools’ Superintendent Daniel Curry wrote those schools intend on returning to full in-person instruction next school year.
In addition, he noted “as an alternative for families,” the school system “is investigating the feasibility of offering a fully virtual school option for students in grades three through 12.” He said the virtual option will not be offered to prekindergarten through grade two students because “we believe they are best served through in-person instruction.”
To plan effectively, a survey was sent out asking parents and students if they would be interested in fully virtual or in-person schooling. More details will be available after the system knows the level of community interest in virtual school.
The virtual programming will be discussed at the April 8 Calvert board of education meeting.
The Charles County board of education has not yet discussed an intention to bring students back into the classroom for 100% in-person instruction, but Shelley Mackey, communication specialist for Charles public schools, said this week that plans will likely be reviewed at the board’s April 10 meeting.