ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan promised rapid COVID-19 tests and an “unlimited supply” of PPE for Maryland schools during a press conference Thursday.

This comes with more encouragement from the state to bring students and teachers back to the classroom for in-person learning by March 1. The governor said all but two public school systems have either resumed in-person instruction or have agreed to do so by that date.

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The state is offering nearly one million COVID-19 tests, both antigen and PCR to public and private schools for testing as they consider reopening. The program is free and voluntary. He said school systems will be surveyed and can opt-in as they wish.

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

This comes as Gov. Larry Hogan in January “urgently” called on local school systems to return to hybrid in-person learning by no later than March 1, even saying he would use any available legal action to get students back in the classrooms. Which, in turn, drew a quick response from teacher’s unions and the Maryland State Education Association, with their president criticizing the lack of safety measures and available vaccines.

“We are frustrated by the lackadaisical implementation of, and resources for, safety measures in our schools,” MSEA President Chery Bost wrote earlier this year. “We are frustrated by the lack of availability of vaccines after being told how important it is for us to get vaccinated. We want to be back in our schools, safely and sustainably, for our students.”

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UPDATES FROM GOV. HOGAN’S NEWS CONFERENCE:

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.

Watch Below: Gov. Hogan’s Full News Conference

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.

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CBS Baltimore Staff