WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ) — Schools in Harford and Carroll Counties reopened on a limited basis Monday with some students in the classroom for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“If I didn’t feel he was safe, I wouldn’t let him go back to school,” said Michael Preston, the father of a fifth-grader. “The administration here is top-notch. They’re doing everything they can possibly do to keep the school open and keep it safe.”

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Students in middle and elementary schools in Carroll County returned Monday. High school students won’t come back until November 12.

Roughly 8,000 of the system’s 24,000 students are still learning virtually, according to Carroll County Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Lockard.

Those returning will head to class in two groups: one attends in-person Monday and Tuesday, the other Thursday and Friday. Wednesday will be all virtual and classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned.

“The challenges this year have been unbelievably complex,” Lockard told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “There’s really no one right answer that works for everybody all the time.“


In Harford County, kindergarten through second-grade students will start in-person instruction one day per week.

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“We have people who are concerned. Everyone’s in a different place in terms of how they respond to COVID,“ said Dr. Sean Bulson, Harford County’s superintendent.

He noted masks are mandatory along with social distancing measures for any students returning to the classroom.

Masks are also required in Carroll County.

Another challenge there: about 350 teachers and support staff have taken leave. Some don’t feel comfortable back in the classroom yet. The shortage has caused the superintendent to scramble for substitutes.

Some educators are teaching their classes virtually to students physically back in the classroom.

“We want to be safe first and foremost,” Lockard said.

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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.