BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Back to School 2020 will look nothing like business as usual.

Districts across the state will start the year with virtual classes, and some teachers’ groups disagree with the state superintendent on the number of hours students will need in front of a computer each day.

State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon wants students to get a minimum of 3.5 hours of live instruction every day, but this proposal came with the first day of school just one week away.

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Some teachers across the state believe the last-minute change is too late.

“This is uncharted water as we start the year virtually,” Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost said.

“Changing this requirement midstream, the public doesn’t know you, as much as they know the teacher that they report to or the administrator in the building, and so by changing the schedules now for some, it causes some mistrust,” she added.

Maryland Public Schools resume sometime between August 31 and September 8, and when they do, students in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties are expected to go virtual until the end of January.

Baltimore City and Carroll County will start out online, with the option to move into a hybrid model if possible.

Clarence Crawford is president of the State Board of Education. They’ll be reviewing Dr. Salmon’s proposal to implement a minimum of 3.5 hours of online learning.

“At the end of the day, we have to do the right thing for the children and with that, sometimes it’s going to mean that we are going to have to make some adjustments that we didn’t otherwise want to do,” Crawford said.

The Board of Education voted to hold a special meeting on September 1 to discuss and then vote on the proposal.

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

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