ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County is the latest school district to lay out a plan to return students to the classrooms.

Ahead of a virtual school board meeting, some Howard County parents and students wanted to get their message across in-person.

“They need to open up and do what’s right for our children,” one parent told WJZ. “We’re sick of it.”

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It was the latest of rallies pushing to get students back to the classrooms.

Thursday night, Howard County’s school board approved the district’s health metrics to lay out how to reopen.

“It’s not going to be perfect, and I think there’s always an opportunity to amend given new information. But, this is what we’ve been asking for. We need metrics, guideposts,” Vicky Cutroneo, of the Howard County School Board, said.

The plan calls for the county’s positivity rate and the new case rate be below certain metrics. For now, instruction will remain virtual and the board will vote on the plan next month.

“There are many different hybrid levels, all with different levels of risk, right? So, I think I would feel much more comfortable in a yellow-band hybrid with 25% capacity versus a yellow-band hybrid with 50% capacity,” Howard County student school board member Zach Koung said.

In August, Gov. Hogan pushed districts to submit reopening plans.

On the Eastern Shore, Dorchester County Schools­­­­­ announced Wednesday night they are switching back to virtual learning after a coronavirus surge there.

Some students in Carroll and Harford counties have started limited in-school learning this week, returning to the classrooms for the first time since March.

“There’s really no one right answer that works for everybody all the time,” Carroll County Schools Superintendent Steven Lockard said.

Howard County Schools officials will present a hybrid learning plan to the board at its November 5 meeting.

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.

Paul Gessler

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