TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — The Baltimore County School Board voted Tuesday evening to start the 2020-2021 school year virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The first semester will be virtual with classes set to begin on September 8. Officials will reassess what to do in the spring.
Chromebooks and mobile internet hotspots will be available for students who need them.
“The amount of live instruction students will receive will vary based upon grade level, effective models for online instruction, and course complexity and enrollment. Moreover, each school will provide extended learning opportunities to occur either before school, after school, and/or on weekends,” the school system said in a news release.
Baltimore County Schools Superintended Dr. Daryl Williams expressed concerns over safety and an anticipated spike of cases in the fall. He added that the school will be prepared for the future.
“The data that we’re watching with the spikes, we felt it was safe to say a semester, however, if things change, we want to be flexible that if after a quarter it is safe to do so, we can make that change,” Dr. Williams said.
In addition, traditional grading will be used and attendance will be taken daily.
Free breakfasts and lunches will be available, with more details expected to be announced at a later date.
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A decision about sporting events will also be made at a later date. Other extra-curricular activities will be able to continue virtually.
— Kelsey Kushner (@KelseyKushnerTV) July 21, 2020
Baltimore County joined several other local school boards making changes to their academic year.
So far, Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Harford and Howard counties announced an online start to the year. They said they hope at some point to move to in-person learning.
While some parents said they’re against the idea, others are behind it.
“I feel that it’s going to hurt the kids,” said Baltimore County parent Tracy Rose.
“I don’t think the learning can truly ever be the same because you’re taking away all of the hands on experimenting, but I think given the circumstance, it’s the best we can do,” said Baltimore County parent Lesley Deyesu.