ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Parents, students and teachers are expressing mixed reactions about the risk of in-person learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes as Gov. Larry Hogan “urgently” called on local school systems to return to hybrid in-person learning by no later than March 1.

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Calls On Schools To Move To Hybrid In-Person Learning By March 1

State leaders said plans have been in place for months that would allow students and teachers to go back to a safe environment.


But Cindy Sexton, the President of for the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, said members are angry.

“That was really a gut punch for all of the teachers who were watching. It was very surprising to hear that,” Sexton said.

On Thursday, Gov. Hogan said he’d use any available legal action to get students back to some form of in-person learning by March 1.

“There is no public health reason for school boards to be keeping students out of schools. None,” the governor said.

But teachers’ unions quickly pushed back. They said they’re worried about returning to unsafe schools.

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“Respect and making sure that they have a voice will go a lot longer than any other threat,” Cheryl Bost, the president of the Maryland State Education Association, said. “And if any threats are attempted to be carried out with educators, we will absolutely push back against that.“

WJZ spoke to a mom who’s also a teacher.

“I do know that virtual learning is not the best environment for children, especially for my own daughter,” she said. “So I would like to get back into the building, but as a family has had a severe reaction to COVID, it’s scary.”

“I think kids should be in school,” another parent said. “I don’t think any of the signs has proven that they are susceptible, and kids need to be in school.”

“My kids aren’t going back,” one parent told WJZ. “This virus is mutating, more and more people are getting sick, I’m not willing to use my children as guinea pigs.”

This conversation is going as Carroll County is dealing with an outbreak at William Winchester Elementary. Two people have tested positive for COVID-19.

They resumed some in-person learning a few weeks ago.

Teachers are now a priority group for the vaccine, so they can move closer to the front of the line, but that process is still slow.

“Very focused on the vaccine at this point, because the vaccine is a great step into making sure that it is a safe environment for the staff to go back,” Sexton 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.

Ava-joye Burnett