BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One of the world’s preeminent universities held a virtual townhall Thursday to discuss if it’s safe to reopen schools this fall.

Revving up for the 2020-2021 school year will be a challenge because of the unknown variables caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Part of the challenge is you have to look at the number of different channels at once,” Dr. Josh Sharfstein said. “It’s not like a computer program that you can setup, push a button, and then you know exactly the right thing to do.”


The panel said there is a way to reopen schools if community spread of COVID-19 is under control. Maryland’s positivity rate, however, is currently fluctuating.

Experts say kids would constantly need to wash their hands and wear masks, but that’s an issue of funding to pay for the supplies.

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There’s also the issues of potentially spreading the virus mainly among teachers and other adults, experts say.

Just this week, the Maryland PTA sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan, pushing for a virtual instead of an in person start to the school year.

Districts will also be under pressure to find alternatives for students who continue to struggle with online learning.

A part of that additional support will be money. Johns Hopkins thinks schools across the country will need $50 billion dollars to make these necessary changes.

Congress is considering another stimulus package.

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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.

Ava-joye Burnett