WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ) — Carroll County Public School officials announced that students and teachers will start the 2020-21 school year online.

The school board voted late Wednesday to open this fall virtually with a goal of hybrid learning.

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In a six-page letter to the school board, Superintendent Dr. Steven Lockard explained the rational behind his recommendation to start virtually.

“It is my recommendation that we open the 2020-21 school year with the enhanced, full virtual model to begin school. I am not committing to a virtual model for the entire semester, rather, that we begin virtually while continuously working to reach a hybrid model as conditions allow,” Lockard said. “Unless the state reverts to Phase I, my recommendation includes a full review and revisit of this decision no later than the October 14th Board meeting. We can always do so before, but that date allows us time to get well underway, and enough time to be able to pivot moving forward if conditions allow.”

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

At Wednesday’s 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.

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,” Lockard said.

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.

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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