ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Students across Maryland haven’t been in a physical classroom since March 13, and now they won’t be going back for the rest of the year.

Maryland will close all its schools for the rest of the school year, in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

While online and distance learning opportunities will continue, the department will release the “Maryland Together: Recovery Plan for Education,” a comprehensive plan for long-term recovery.

Maryland State School Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon said different methods of returning to school could be included in both Stage Two and Three of the state’s recovery plan.

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Decisions regarding graduation will be made by each local superintendent. State schools said they have been told by each superintendent that they are collaborating with local communities to make sure that seniors will be recognized for their accomplishments.

“Although this is the right decision for the safety and health of our students, educators, and state, today is a sad day. Educators miss our students. We wish we could see them, talk with them, laugh with them, and teach them in person. We wish we could say goodbye to them before the school year ends,” said Baltimore County elementary school teacher and Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) President Cheryl Bost. “Instead, educators, families, and students will continue to do our best during this period of crisis distance learning, while knowing that we have a great deal of work to do now and moving forward.”

“We must address the inequities within our community—whether of technology access for educators and students, food security, trauma care, or otherwise—that have been magnified by this crisis. We look forward to the day that we can return to our schools and the everyday joys, challenges, and work of educating our students,” Bost continued.

Some outdoor activities will be available starting Thursday, which may be just in time for some kids who are done with physical school classrooms for the remainder of the year.

Starting at 7 a.m. on Thursday, May 7 Marylanders can now golf, play tennis, go boating, fishing and camping and participate in other outdoor activities. The state will also reopen its state parks and beaches.

The stay at home order, however, is still active. Hogan said people would continue to social distance and wear masks when it makes sense.

The governor said Maryland is starting to see a decrease in hospitalizations and a “flattening of the curve” when it comes to intensive care cases.

If these trends continue into next week, Hogan said he will be ready to lift the stay at home order and to begin stage one of the state’s recovery plan.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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