Citing an increase in the seven-day average coronavirus case count, the Anne Arundel County Board of Education voted to delay the Maryland county’s hybrid school reopening plan on Wednesday night.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools will also pause small group, in-person instruction at the Center of Applied Technology — North and the county’s three development centers after Friday. Those students who are doing in-person learning will go back to distance learning Nov. 9.
Outdoor athletics practices and extracurricular activities can continue, but there won’t be any indoor practices and activities after Friday.
On Tuesday, Anne Arundel County’s seven-day average saw an all-time high, with over 15 new cases a day per 100,000 residents. The metric has been steadily rising since Oct. 22, when it was around 10 cases per 100,000 residents.
The school board decided to push the beginning of hybrid classes until the second semester in February, though that would depend on the county’s health metrics improving.
Schools Superintendent George Arlotto made the announcement Thursday to also halt small group instruction.
“In-person opportunities for our special needs and technology students are critical and that is why they were the first students we brought back into our buildings this fall,” Arlotto said in a statement. “The case rate is at such a point now, however, that the prudent thing to do in alignment with the health and safety metrics established by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health is to return to a virtual environment.”
Arlotto added that “as soon as the metrics allow, we will bring these students back into our buildings.”
Had the original hybrid plan been implemented, students ranging from pre-K through second grade would have begun attending classes on Nov. 16, assuming their families opted in to the program. Students in grades three through five would have started their hybrid classes on Nov. 30.
No return date had been set for middle school and high school students.
Under the hybrid plan, classes would be attended in person on either Monday and Tuesday, or Thursday and Friday, with the remainder of days remaining virtual.
In a separate vote, the school board adopted a motion that supports the ongoing efforts to return priority students — such as English-language learners, students with special needs and other who are struggling with virtual coursework — to in-person instruction for the remainder of the first semester, as long as it is deemed safe by meeting health and safety metrics established by the county’s health department.
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