Frederick County's schools superintendent expressed relief Maryland’s state board of education modified recent recommendations put forth by the state superintendent on how much live instruction students should be receiving each day.

State Superintendent Karen Salmon recently proposed students should receive between three and five hours of live instruction from a teacher each day depending on their grade level. She also proposed that school systems who were not yet meeting this benchmark revamp their current model to meet the new time requirements by the mid-point of the first academic quarter.

This proposal came just as school systems throughout the state either reopened or planned to reopen with virtual models they spent months preparing.

The state board, during a special meeting called Tuesday, voted that school systems must implement at least three-and-a-half hours per day for all grade levels by the end of the academic year.

Alban said in an email that she believes the FCPS plan is already meeting the time requirement and that the decision by the state board will give FCPS another opportunity to review the model in place.

Within the same motion, the state board also set a new requirement stating that school systems must reevaluate their reopening plans for the second semester by the end of the first academic quarter. The plan must be submitted to the Maryland State Department of Education no later than the third week of November.

The first quarter for FCPS ends on Nov 6.

Alban said she did not think it would be a challenge for the Frederick County Board of Education to review the reopening plan by then.

"I know that our Board noted we would remain in the virtual model until a review in January. However, they always discussed the possibility of reviewing our plan if there were significant changes related to COVID-19."

The state education department posted Salmon's latest proposal on the department's website Saturday, but in the hours between then and the board meeting, the state's teachers union had rallied the support of 20,000 people who signed a petition opposing it. School districts had an Aug. 14 deadline to submit reopening plans to the state education department.

Salmon and several board members said they are representing the views of many parents in the state who want more hours of instruction and the option of returning to school buildings. They said in-person classes are particularly important for students with disabilities, those learning English as a second language and high school students trying to earn professional certifications in Career and Technology classes.

"We were really concerned about the children that don't learn well online ... the hundreds of parents who said they wanted more direct instruction," Salmon said.

A move to defer a decision for several weeks lost by one vote Tuesday before state school board members began rewriting Salmon's proposal during the video meeting as they discussed it. The changes reduced the number of hours required for some students and significantly delayed the implementation.

Baltimore Sun reporter Liz Bowie contributed to this article.

Copyright 2020 Tribune Content Agency.

(19) comments


Hogan had to act. The disparities between Maryland counties is RIDICULOUS.

My kids have online learning M T TH F mornings only per FCPS. No instruction online in afternoons. On Wednesday, my kids only need to check into their homeroom...then no instruction online all day.

Washington County next door has kids in same six classes a day, five days a week, from 9:00 - 2:30 daily.

Howard County down the road has kids in online learning five days a week, regular schedule.

The current setup is giving FCPS administrators and the School Board a black eye. This lax schedule is hurting our children and caving into the teacher's union and all the fearmongering and whining.

FCPS kids should have normal schooldays just like before this pandemic, except just now learning from home on their chromebooks and computers.


So darn sad to see us shortchange our kids when we given leeway by state to set our scheduling. Other counties near us got it right and FCPS really got this wrong. Hogan needed to do this. 3.5 hours daily a dumb should be in school ALL DAY, like any other normal day.


Do you have a 4-year old? A 5-year old? A 6-year old? A 7-year old? How about an 8 or 9 year old? You are saying those young children should be sitting in front of a computer screen for 6 hours every day? Do you really believe they would "absorb" 6 hours worth of content in that day? I can promise you when you walk into any elementary school there is so much transition, use of multiple senses, frequent large motor breaks, etc. If you are a stay at home parent and can sit beside your young child for 6 hours and you don't have to work - congratulations. However, that/those models leave SO many children behind. Not even our marginalized communities, but our middle-class, working families. Are childcare providers expected to provide the 6 hours of oversight - and for how many children at once? Current ratios for childcare are 1:14 for 3 and 4-year olds. So maybe you want to volunteer to go into a child care center, work for $8.50/hour, and monitor 14 little kids sitting in front of devices for 6 hours per day.

Try to look at this from a lens other than your own.


Gov. Hogan was on track to be the textbook example on how to handle a pandemic right up to a week ago. Lots of examples of schools and colleges opening only to have to close after a spike in cases. Time to add Maryland to the list of those who refuse to learn from history. Time for the governor to ask him self what would April or May Larry do and do that.



Seems like Hogan is worried more about his life after the Governorship rather than the lives of the people of Maryland. His choices have been noted in the history books.


Alban should take notes from the Washington County Public Schools Superintendent- he recommended that students start returning to schools in phases starting September 16th!! This was passed by the school board last night. We are stuck with online learning till January according to Brad Young and Alban.



That's because virtual is the smart/right decision. Have you not seen what is happening in the Midwest right now? Have you not seen what has happened in institution after institution that has brought kids back? Your position is willful ignorance at this point.


Exactly. Thank you.


New Market Parent - Im sure Boyd Michael did his research. He would not intentionally put students in harms way. Parents can still keep their kids at home and do distance learning. Let everyone decide for themselves


As mentioned in the article, the BOE has stated that they will reevaluate if/when cases stay at certain levels.


Alban is relieved by anything that means she won't have to do any work.



This comment tracks with what I have seen.


[thumbup] And if something goes wrong (it will) she’ll be quick to blame others!



That's leadership as defined from the top down at this point. [sad]


You obviously don’t understand that there is an organizational chart, which shows all the cogs in the wheel, and the responsibilities of each position. One individual/cog falls short, and the effect is felt through the system. You lack the information/understanding/education to make a valid judgement on this topic.




Nonsense. Cogs in the wheel. A lame defense of incompetent bureaucracy. Anyone can judge Alban's lack of leadership -- just by observing her.


Do you know much about her workload? Personally? I mean your screen name may lead some to believe....... but let me know your inside scoop on how much work she does, or are you throwing out allegations you can't back up?





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