Anne Arundel County Public Schools students will start the 2020-2021 school year with distance learning for the first semester, the school system announced Monday.
Superintendent George Arlotto will review the plan with the school board at a public meeting Wednesday, which starts at 7 p.m. The meeting will be available to livestream on YouTube.
“We all want students to be back in our buildings, but there are very real concerns about returning to those settings in September for us and for a significant portion of our families and our employees,” Arlotto said in a statement Monday.
Arlotto said he made the decision after discussions with Anne Arundel County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, school staff, students and other superintendents in Maryland. He also cited recent surveys of the school system’s families and employees.
“What carries the most weight for me, however, is the data and the science. I have been communicating with Dr. Kalyanaraman regularly and his advice to me is that, given the current state of the pandemic and the fact that Maryland remains in Stage 2 of its Road to Recovery, the best course of action is to begin the year virtually,” Arlotto said.
The school system said the upcoming semester will have “a more robust eTeaching model than existed in the spring,” and will involve more live instruction from teachers.
AACPS is also trying to to make sure all students and teachers have the right equipment, promising to purchase more Chromebooks for schools when they reopen when more funding is available. In March, the school system said it had 45,000 Chromebooks on hand.
More details of the AACPS reopening plan will be available online after Wednesday’s board meeting.
The public can give comment on the plan through July 31, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or sending comments to the Carol S. Parham Building at 2644 Riva Road, Annapolis, 21401.
The Maryland State Department of Education requires school systems to send final plans to the department by Aug. 14.
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