For Maryland schools, coronavirus calls for creative solutions

By: | March 25, 2020

State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon’s announcement Wednesday morning that Maryland’s K-12 public schools won’t be reopening on March 30, as hoped, but instead will remain closed four more weeks, through at least April 24, leaves systems scrambling to find ways to educate students. It is no easy task. None were prepared for a pandemic. , and what’s emerged so far from school systems does not inspire confidence. It’s been a hodgepodge of worksheets and resource links posted on school system web sites with promises of better things to come. It is not the virtual classroom educators have been talking about for years.

In fact, some teachers have thus far been told not to teach.

Last week, a longtime Howard County high school teacher received an email from his school system that left him thunderstruck. He had been posting material for his advanced placement students on the county’s interactive web site so that they could continue their studies, despite the statewide dismissal necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak. The email instructed him and other teachers to, in effect, stand down during the initial closure. Sharing lessons or study materials was a potential violation of federal law, the email warned, saying it was “imperative that teachers and/or school teams do not provide direct/ongoing general instruction from March 16 to March 29.”

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