TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — As coronavirus cases in Maryland continue to climb, the Baltimore County Public Schools system said Wednesday it won’t move forward with reopening four public separate day schools later this month as planned.
In a statement, school officials said the county’s positivity rate and the number of cases per 100,000 residents have “steadily increased” over the past week.
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Those numbers mean the school system is “unable to proceed with reopening our four public separate day schools (Battle Monument, Maiden Choice, Ridge Ruxton, and White Oak) as scheduled on Nov. 9 for staff and Nov. 16 for students.”
“We will proceed with a safe reopening for students two weeks after we meet the established parameters,” the statement continued. “The return of school-based staff to school buildings is also being put on hold until further notice.”
The public separate day schools serve students who may have disabilities or other needs that could impact their academic performance.
As of Wednesday, the state’s health department reported a total of 21,605 COVID-19 cases in Baltimore County. The county has added at least 126 new cases daily since October 27.
In its reopening plan released last week, the school system said it would use two primary indictors — the number of cumulative cases per 100,000 people over 14 days and the percentage of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days — to guide its decisionmaking on reopening or closing schools.
The decision comes as teachers in Anne Arundel County express concern about its district’s reopening plans.
Currently, kindergarten students and grades three through five will have the option of a hybrid model.
Back in Baltimore County, many parents said the decision isn’t necessarily surprising. For some, it comes as a disappointment. Others said it’s the right move.
“It was exciting to have a plan, a step forward to some kids going back and kind of take a step back without another plan being released is a little frustrating,” said parent Maura Kadan.
“I was actually pretty pleased. Our numbers are going up as far as Covid so, so I’m not ready to send my kids back to school yet,” said another parent, Parcie Gibson.
The school district said in its statement it continues to monitor its metrics daily and will make adjustments as necessary. It plans to update those metrics every Friday.