TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — The decision to reopen schools for in-person learning has been a tough one across Maryland with many remaining virtual.

On Thursday, Baltimore County Public Schools announced plans to bring some students back into the classroom in November.

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“This is a big thing, and we know there’s going to be a lot of anxiety,” said Baltimore County Schools spokesman Brandon Orland.

According to the district’s timeline, parents of certain students will be surveyed October 2 through October 9.

“This group of identified students includes both students with disabilities who attend separate public day schools and self-contained regional programs and students in preschool, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten,” the school system wrote.

Teachers and other staff are set to return on October 19.

On November 13, small groups of students will be allowed to physically return to classrooms.

Online instruction will still be offered.

Photo Courtesy Of Baltimore County Schools.

“As I announced on August 27, we have been considering guidance from Governor Hogan and State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon about a phased-in process for bringing small groups of students back to school buildings for in-person instruction. We have been particularly concerned about students who might benefit most from in-person instruction – students with disabilities and our youngest learners. Our new timeline for staff and student reentry focuses on providing in-person services to those two groups of students. More details will be forthcoming, but we are pleased to announce our first steps back toward in-person instruction for all students,” Baltimore County Superintendent Dr. Darryl Williams wrote in a prepared statement.

Gov. Larry Hogan praised the decision.


But Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski was critical and said the move came as a surprise.

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“Baltimore County’s educators, parents and students have faced unparalleled uncertainty during this crisis. They deserve collaborative planning and clear communication from the Baltimore County Public School System. Today’s announcement provided neither,” he wrote.


The Teachers Association of Baltimore County released a statement calling the decision “unexpected” and said they had concerns and were not consulted by administrators about the reopening.

Teachers Association of Baltimore County’s statement.

There are a limited number of schools in Maryland allowing some students back in the classroom already. The governor toured Caroline County schools last week, and the state superintendent visited Cecil County schools earlier this week.

“It’s a conundrum for many local school systems to find just the right way to do the best that they can for their children,” Dr. Salmon said Monday.

Catholic schools have also opened their doors to in-person instruction.

Archbishop Spalding High in Severn showed pictures on Facebook of social distancing measures and other safeguards.

The school wrote a letter to parents that off-campus gatherings last weekend lead to two students testing positive for the coronavirus.

The school will be online-only the remainder of this week while administrators work with the health department and try to trace the contacts of those two students.


One parent who asked to remain anonymous praised the school’s response.

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“I think Spalding is doing the best they can in the environment they are allowed to work in. The hybrid model seems to be an excellent way to mitigate mass exposure and allow for proper social distancing. They also have a mask mandate, which should also help slow any spread [according to health officials],” the parent said. “Schools should be cautious; however, I think peer interaction for our youth is critical.”