Schools in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, are preparing to offer students the option of hybrid learning next month, with some students able to return to the classroom part-time. But depending on their teacher’s preference, some kids could get a different teacher than they started the year with.
After getting the results of a survey finding nearly 70% of school staff respondents plan to return in person Nov. 2, Anne Arundel County Schools communications Director Bob Mosier said the school system now has the information it needs to prepare for students’ return in mid-November.
“Now it is the in-the-weeds work of going through each school and each grade, and matching up the number of students coming back hybrid, and looking at teachers who are coming back hybrid and making those assignments,” he told WTOP.
Of the three learning options presented to families in an earlier survey, each option received about one-third of the vote.
The survey found 30% of families want their child to return for a hybrid in-person and virtual learning model for the semester ahead; roughly 37% want to remain learning virtually for the semester but reserve the right to change their mind in the future; and the remaining 34% elected to finish the school year learning from home.
However, just because the majority of staff plans to return, it does not mean that each school will see 70% of its staff back in the building, Mosier said.
“You could have a school where 90% of the school-based staff is coming back, and you could have a school where 90% has indicated that they don’t want to come back,” he said.
It could mean that, for example, a first-grade teacher who requested accommodation to instruct virtually for personal health or child-care reasons may be matched with students from another school, and a new teacher may fill his or her spot in person.
“We’ll try in every possible case to keep students with the teacher who they began the year with,” Mosier said.
Student families who did not respond to the survey to elect their learning option are assumed to be virtually learning in the future.
However, staff who did not respond to the survey are assumed to be reporting in person on Nov. 2.
When a student begins their chosen learning model depends on their grade. Early learners and pre-K through second-grade learners will start the next semester on Nov. 16; third through fifth grades will begin Nov. 30.
The Anne Arundel County teachers’ union did not respond to WTOP’s request for comment.