Demand surges for more in-person learning in Anne Arundel County

A higher percentage of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, students are back in classrooms compared to other school systems in the D.C. region, and that percentage is likely to keep growing over the coming weeks.

About 2,000 more students returned to school buildings in the last week alone, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto told the school board at a Wednesday meeting. In all, about 40% of the county’s students are now getting some in-person learning.

But a recent survey given to county parents suggests higher vaccination rates and lower virus infection rates have students and parents alike feeling more confident — even eager — to go back to the classroom.

“Those numbers … are changing literally by the minute,” said Arlotto.

In all, more than 11,000 students who are still learning through virtual instruction are ready to go back to the classroom. Most of them want to go back for at least four days out of every school week.

Arlotto said 7,473 who were virtual-only have asked to move to four days per week. He said  13,613 who are currently going to school two days a week want that to increase to four days a week.

The numbers vary from school to school, and accommodating those requests will involve planning not just by the principal, but also the county’s transportation system, since many of those students say they’ll need rides to and from school.

“Principals and the transportation department are prioritizing two-day-a-week requests, and then they’ll focus on the four-day-a-week requests,” said Arlotto. “This is all very school- and classroom-by-classroom specific.”

He said some schools didn’t see any requests to go from zero to two days of in-person instruction, allowing them to focus on accommodating four-day-per-week requests.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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