BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and President Donald Trump want schools to open full-time this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While some local parents said they’re in favor of a return to in-person classes, the Maryland State Education Association and others aren’t sure if it’s safe to go back just yet.

Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost criticized President Trump and DeVos’ calls to fully return students to class this fall.


“We really feel that what the President of the United States and Secretary DeVos shared the other day is a lot of rhetoric and it’s really irresponsible to say we’re just going to blankly open schools,” Bost said.

She said the generalized statements are not right for the state’s teachers and students and said there are a lot of factors to consider when making these decisions.

“Each district is different with the number of cases, whether states are spiking, or even districts in our own state,” Bost said.

She said consulting health and safety officials is also important before making these decisions.

Some local parents said they agree.

“I think that the President should listen to the doctors and scientists,” one parent told WJZ.

Some believe it’s too soon to make a decision without all the facts.

“I think it’s a rush to judgment without the background information that he doesn’t obviously understand,” another parent said to WJZ.

Other parents disagree and would like to see a return back to schools after months of virtual learning.

“They need to get back to school,” a parent said. “We all have to get back to work. Something’s got to happen.”

There is no plan yet for a return to public schools in Maryland. State Schools Superintendent Karen Salmon said in a statement that “The Maryland State Department of Education continues to collaborate with local superintendents on a regular basis regarding next steps in our education recovery plan. As the governor has said, we will listen to the experts and the data.”

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.

Stetson Miller

  1. Chris says:

    Trump somehow thinks he can just order COVID away, he can’t. He thinks he knows more than doctors who are experts in epidemiology, he doesn’t. We have no idea what the COVID situation will be in each state 6-8 weeks from now. It is getting worse in most states right now, not better. There is no vaccine, there may never be. Over 130,000 Americans have died from it.

    How do we social distance kids on the school bus? Where will the extra busses come from as they will not be able to fill them, they will all have to run at well under half full. Where are the many extra teachers and classrooms we will need to spread kids out at least 6′ apart at all times? How will we replace all the teachers who will not risk their health by returning to the classroom? Who will disinfect everything in a school each and every day? Are there enough school nurses to test each child’s temp every day before they come into the building? Where do we line them up 6′ apart before admitting them to the building in inclement weather? People will not want their kids out in the rain or extreme temperatures. How much earlier will they have to be there? How do they eat lunches with masks on in a cafeteria that does not have enough room to properly distance them? How do we make sure all kids, especially little ones, wash hands properly, never remove masks or touch their faces, cough and sneeze properly (which we all know they do not do) and follow all protocols? Anyone who has ever had kids knows they are kids and do unsanitary things all the time and don’t do everything we tell them to. They also know how simple illnesses can spread through a school.

    Face it, there is no current practical plan to start up school employing all current CDC protocols.
    The schools are not big enough & there are not enough teachers, custodians or busses. If COVID is still running rampant, most parents are not even going to send their kids to a COVID spreader center (aka a classroom). Yes, parents want to get back to work, but most will not sacrifice their children in order to do it. COVID will not go away because Trump wishes it would.
    We have the means to effectively educate kids online and, the way things are right now, that is the safest option.

    I am retired after teaching 35 years in PG County. elementary schools, so I know what I am talking about. No amount of money would get me back into a classroom right now as I believe it would endanger my and my family’s health and, most importantly, endanger the students and their families. COVID will be over when it is over and it does not care what Trump, Governors, Superintendents, parents or anyone else wants.

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