CARROLL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — The superintendent of Carroll County Public Schools recommended a mostly virtual start to the academic year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

UPDATE: Carroll County Will Start School Year Online

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At the meeting, the school board revised all three of its models. Virtual learning would require 20 percent direct instruction between teachers and students; a hybrid model would allow some students to return to school two days a week; and a return to in-person learning requires students to remain in the classroom for lunch.

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The superintendent, though, said he is not committing to a virtual model for the entire semester.

“I want to remain hopeful that, if the conditions exist and we’re able, we can move to more of a hybrid sooner,” Dr. Steven Lockard said.

A car caravan protest was held ahead of the school board meeting.

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It was led by a group of teachers and parents who wanted a virtual start to the school year.

“It’s not really feasible or safe to just send our kids back and act like everything is normal, because its not,” Andrew Grabowski said.

At the same time, a second group of parents and students advocated for schools to reopen for in-person learning.

“A virtual solution is not a virtuous solution,” Jim Walss said.

Several Maryland school districts have already decided to start the school year virtually.

The superintendent said unless the state reverts to Phase One of the reopening process, he recommends a full review and revisit of this decision no later than October 14.

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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.

Rachel Menitoff