Maryland- On March 12, 2020, Dr. Karen Salmon; State Superintendent of Education, announced Maryland schools would be closed for two weeks. Then at a Governor Hogan press conference on March 26, Dr. Salmon announced schools would continue to be closed until April 25, 2020, with a start date of April 27.
Over the past 2 weeks, schools across Maryland have begun rolling out distance learning programs consisting of online learning and paper packet instruction(for those without internet). The challenge of this has produced many complaints; including parents who were taught a different way in school compared to today’s way of teaching, particularly Common Core Math. Administrators, and teachers alike have been working around the clock to alleviate the confusion, and help as much as possible. A lot of teachers are using Zoom classrooms to hold mini-classes with students.
This week Dr. Salmon, speaking with a bipartisan group of lawmakers said she is ramping up distance learning capabilities, in case school continues to be closed for the 2020-21 academic year.
“I’m not sure we are going to be doing school in the same way going forward,” Salmon told lawmakers. “We’re not sure that is not something that we’re going to revisit in the fall or the winter. I’m really focusing much of our resources on the expansion and accountability wrapped around online learning and distance learning.”
Hogan later stated that there has been no decision on when schools will reopen and said this is about being proactive and preparing in case.
The President of the Maryland State Education Teachers Association, Cheryl Bost, said if distance learning is to continue for months, there are a number of issues that need to be addressed. There are not enough laptops for teachers and students, and there are gaps in training that teachers need to work on.
“This is showing us where our deficits are, which is good. If we are going to do this long term, we are going to have to do a lot to fill in those deficits,” Bost said.
Dr. Salmon said that if the virus either continues or comes back in the fall, they need to be prepared to continue distance learning through the Fall and Winter.
As of Wednesday morning at the 10 am update Maryland has 5,529 positive cases and 124 deaths.
Editor’s Note: The Southern Maryland Chronicle will continue to learn and report more on the Distance Learning programs in Southern Maryland and how it is affecting students, parents, and teachers.