Hogan urges all schools to plan some in-person instruction

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announces that all of the state's school systems meet safety standards to reopen for some in-person instruction during a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 in Annapolis, Md., as some of the state's counties are opting for online-only instruction at the start of the school year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Karen Salmon, the state's superintendent of schools, is standing right. 

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday that all public schools in Maryland can begin to safely reopen, but said the ultimate decision is still left up to county boards of education.

“In order for us to keep moving forward and to keep making progress, it is absolutely critical that we begin the process of getting our children safely and gradually back into the classroom,” Hogan said.

Hogan made the announcement at a news briefing in Annapolis alongside Karen Salmon, state superintendent of public schools and Jinlene Chan, acting deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Health.

In Frederick County, the public school year starts Monday with a mostly virtual learning plan as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“Some of the county school boards have not even attempted to develop any safe reopening plans which would bring any kids back for any form of in-person instruction,” Hogan said. “This is simply not acceptable.”

He added, however, that he would not override the decisions of local school boards, as those bodies have the authority under state law.

“I mean, this is the way our laws work,” Hogan said. “The locally elected and school boards have the priority to make these decisions. ... We don’t have the authority to tell the school systems what they must do.”

Salmon called on all school boards to evaluate their mode of instruction at the end of the first quarter, to see if in-person instruction can be expanded.

The Board of Education in Frederick County decided that the first semester of school would be virtual for all students, except for small, specific, targeted groups, The Frederick News-Post reported in late July. Those groups would likely be marginalized populations like special education students and English Language (EL) students, who could struggle under a fully virtual format.

Board of Education President Brad Young said Thursday evening he hadn’t yet reviewed Hogan’s announcement, but added it “was getting to the game a little bit late,” given that his board and others statewide had developed and voted on reopening plans weeks ago.

He said it’s possible, but not probable that plans could change after the first quarter, but said health metrics would have to greatly improve for teachers, administrators and others to feel safe returning more students into schools.

“We said throughout the first semester ... so unless something drastic were to happen, I couldn’t see it changing,” Young said.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(54) comments

vodalone

Nope, schools are not ready to open buildings for students. Maybe in a small handful of rural counties in far western MD this is possible, but for 95% of the state it's impossible. Just seems like Hogan is antsy to get his hand on that federal funding before someone else does, pretty disappointing as I was starting to like the guy.

hayduke2

vodalone - [thumbup][thumbup]

NewMarketParent

@vodalone

Don't get your hopes too high. You will be disappointed every time.

PurplePickles

@vodalone

I had forgotten about the "federal funding"....boy we were rubes

The governor was playing the long game and we all just got played into thinking he cared about our children more than he cared about himself.

Note to self: Never trust anyone with an R behind their name, EVER!

NewMarketParent

@PurplePickles

What you are seeing in real-time is what happens when you try to run the government like a business.

It has become pretty clear that business' does not give a flying fig about us.

I also get it as business are all about optimization. To them, loss is sustainable as long as the money keeps coming in and the losses are more than gains... keep that money-spicket on.

MD1756

"and the losses are more than gains"? That's a sure way to bankrupt a business. I'll never understand any people who staunchly support their party. There are plenty of example of both sides moving forward with opening schools. Just look an NYC.

NewMarketParent

@MD1756

I mispoke... meant to say and the gains are more than the losses... I haven't started drinking yet, so only expect it to get worse on my part.

NewMarketParent

@vodalone

I don't trust them. I do expect them to be transparent and accountable.

vodalone

I don't trust any politician period, whether they have an R, D, I, or anything in between next to their name.

Arbit

Agree!

DickD

[thumbup][thumbup]

mikec

I lean left, and even I was starting to like Hogan. Everybody makes mistakes, but the timing on his announcement yesterday was terrible. Schools open in just a couple days and he's advocating for going back to the buidling?!?!?!?!? Too late for that, let's hope come January students can come back.

NewMarketParent

@mikec

For a brief flash, Hogan seemed like he might actually show some leadership. Can't let that happen though, someone reminded him which political party he was in and he snapped back in line.

newspostreader

vodalone - I may be incorrect, so my apologizes of so. Weren't you the one a few weeks ago upset that schools were not opening and felt the parents should be compensated because they were expected to help their children learn from home?

vodalone

That was me, but to correct you I wasn't upset the schools weren't reopening, I as most anticipated that was going to happen. I do still believe parents of school aged children should be given some kind of subsidy for having to stay home instead of working because their child is learning from home and needs supervision. Given the layoffs of school maintenance workers, bus drivers, security/crossing guards, janitors, etc. this is very possible.

Crab0721

I would like to know how they expect to open safely when they have not done any updates on some of the schools in 30 or more years and not to mention that the schools are overcrowded and they can't just expand the schools since every single open space has been built on with more homes and more homes means more students. Even if they were to split them into 2 groups there still is not enough room to space students out. Then you have the issue with the busses. How do they expect kids to ride 1 to a seat there is no way that is going to happen. Also if they have to clean them after each run what does that mean for time wise are they going to hire more drivers and busses or will students be expected to get on the bus earlier so that they can get to school on time.

Also if Adults can't follow simple instructions which makes you think that their children can? What about cleaning? Do you realize how many surfaces kids touch each day let alone I know that when I have gone to the school I probably touched more than my share of surfaces but I can only imagine how many students touch. What about bathrooms are they going to clean each time a child goes and they don't have the necessary supplies to keep kids safe. What about lunch are they going to have hand washing before they eat lunch and how is that going to work. I don't want to just use sanitizer and I am sure that kids don't want their food tasting like that either. Their are so many things that have to be considered.

To the parents who think that Masks should NOT be worn. They ABSOLUTELY should be.

NewMarketParent

@Crab0721

Exactly!

Kids will end up trading masks like they do lunches. And yet adults seem to want to ignore this fact because they lack the imagination to see the world work differently than they are used to.

Crab0721

I agree. I just moved my son into Salisbury University yesterday and I was not impressed with the room situation. I was under the impression that they were going to be having 1 to a room but no it is 2 to a room and I believe that 4 or 6 students share a bathroom and I am just waiting for them to say well they are coming home. Although I was impressed that everyone and everywhere we were on campus students and staff were wearing masks inside and outside.

I did want to say that afterwards we went to Ocean City to spend a little bit more time with him since it was close by and we had not been there in 10 years. And while we were there i saw A lot People that were not wearing masks while walking on the Boardwalk and the people cleaning the bathrooms were not either. I definitely made sure that my family put their masks on every time.

NewMarketParent

@Crab0721

I hope your family stays safe. Several universities have opened only to have quickly shut down because of local spikes. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure this will continue until we learn our lesson. You would think that after 170K deaths we would have, but no... we like to learn our lesson the hardest way possible.

We will always do the right thing, after we have tried everything else.

bosco

Geeze, crab0721, how hard is it to wear a mask when around other people? I just do not understand the mentality. Of course, I don't understand the mentality of those who don't take available vaccines either. Those who refuse to wear a seatbelt. Those who ride a motorcycle without a helmet when not required. Or those who don't wear a PFD when on the water.

I hope your son stays safe and protects himself from the idiots.

[ninja]

NewMarketParent

@bosco

There are people who make money from people who have no understanding of basic science. They want to be the only provider of truth and don't want a populace who can understand nuance and use logic/reason.

There are so many misinformation campaigns. It started with cigarettes and has transformed into misinformation about climate change denial. Those same people and types of people also feed into propaganda to mistrust our institutions and talk of deep state or anti-vaccine. They use outlets such as Qanon/Wikileaks/Faux News/Daily Steamer/Dredge Report to test our adherence to logic/reason and decide when we are ripe for division. Seems like we are pretty ripe right now.

Anytime you got a doctor on TV who swears that sickness is caused by demon sperm and that something as potentially dangerous as Hydroxychloroquine should be taken by the masses, obviously they know that there are obviously a high number of dumb people at their fingertips.

PurplePickles

@NMP

Basic common sense seems to have gone right out the window also. Basic common sense along with critical thinking skills is crucial to understanding basic science.

A "doctor" who thinks sickness is caused by a demon seed isn't really a doctor, common sense and critical thinking skills should make that apparent to someone with common sense and critical thinking skills.

I haven't been to medical school but I'm pretty sure they don't have a class "Sickness Caused by Demon Seed 101"

Why people aren't running away as fast as possible from "doctors" like that stuns me.

Somehow we need to get back to the time where common sense and critical thinking skills were valued and encouraged not belittled, like when Obama was president. I miss Obama so much. If he was commander in chief we would be going back to school, actual in person school.

NewMarketParent

@PurplePickles

When this administration won, I went back and read 1984 and everyday we keep getting closer.

We have always been at war with Eurasia.

PurplePickles

@crab0721

Your post says it all and the Governor knows all this and probably more, at least I hope he knows more he is the Governor, thing is I feel he has stabbed all the school boards in the back and is twisting the knife.

The governor knows by now what a majority of the school boards in Maryland have decided, virtual school for the first few months at least, but suddenly he decides with out any data to back him that it's now safe for schools to open, but there is plenty of data to back up the fact opening schools isn't safe and will not work. Doesn't the Governor pay attention to what's happening in other states with the schools? It sure seems like he isn't? Isn't the governor supposed to lead the state? It sure seems like he isn't?

Who looks like the bad guy now? I'm sorry but this was a coward move by the governor, is he trying to appeal to the orange one or garner attention for his book?

Then again he is a Republican governor,,,,,

DickD

My grandson came home from ECU. Some of his friends have now tested positive for COVID 19

Opening school is a mistake!

NewMarketParent

It is happening everywhere. Opening is one of the biggest mistakes that we can make right now, but everyone seems to want to rush towards failure..

MD1756

By everyone I presume you mean parents. As someone with no children I think it would be stupid and irresponsible to send one's children to school right now.

PurplePickles

@MD1756

You need to clarify who you are talking to like I did with you. With an @then the name

Arbit

Agree! Sending students to school now would be irresponsible. This entire thing is a sh** show.

NewMarketParent

@MD1756

Yup... but our governor seems for it.

NewMarketParent

@MD1756

What completely escapes me is the default-mode of not being safe for these people.

Think of your place of residence as an island and each place you go as shark-infested waters. These people will try to make us swim in those waters. Some will make it and some will not and they are completely fine with that.

Everything tells us that these waters have sharks. Everything!

Yet... our leadership is like.... could be shark... could not... ignore the blood in the water over there. If you are loyal, you will swim with the sharks. They are your friend.

DickD

If they open schools your children are required to attend, based on state law - unless the State issues an exception. Anyone age 6 and not yet 16. Other than that I agree and just might keep my child home anyway. Better to be charged with a violation than to have a dead child. What Brad Young said about not wanting a dead child is what is the most important.

MD1756

PurplePickes, the indentation of my comment from the comment above indicates who I'm responding to. Only if there s no add reply do I add a name. I don't text, tweet, whatever so I'm not in the habit of using @ other than part of e-mail addresses and I see no reason to change. NMP understood my comment.

bosco

Here's Hogan's Road Map To Recovery on April 24th:

https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/MD_Strong.pdf

Discuss/fight amongst yourselves.[ninja]

phydeaux994

Sorry Governor Hogan, I have to leave you here.

FrederickFan

This is ridiculous and will create chaos. Schools start Monday in Maryland and plans were due to the state weeks ago. No guidance on health metrics until today! The Governor provided no leadership and then criticizes every school system in the state right before schools open. Unbelievably bad judgement.

mgoose806

No leadership in Frederick Government either, The pandemic has exposed that none can handle a crisis.

bosco

I'm sure Biden had a plan months ago. He just didn't share it. He'll wait several more months and then start talking about what he would've done. And Harris will be right there behind "the little man" saying "That's true leadership".

[ninja]

NewMarketParent

@bosco

We are talking about the governor here. Try to keep up, poo-slinger.

hayduke2

[offtopic]

bosco

Thank you NMP and hayduke2 for moderating the discussion. I trust that in the future neither of you will stray from any topic in order to insert Trump into the discussion.

Poo-slinger, how adult but not unexpected from Fido's LLBTT.

[ninja]

PurplePickles

@Bosco

Sorry you’re mad that the world doesn’t revolve around you. Let me pour you a tall glass of get over it.

Arbit

You are all acting like congress now. Bickering and throwing insults at each other.

NewMarketParent

@PurplePickles

Make sure you add the ice to the cocktail. Seems burn assistance may be needed.

PurplePickles

@NMP

I wish my slap back to Bosco would require some burn assistance but he won't be silent for long, he is a narcissist and needs attention.

NewMarketParent

@Arbit

In coming in late, what you see is one bad faith actor (bosco) being told that his opinions are only regurgitated Faux News talking points with no real merit nor basis in reality or fact.

When you see this day in and day out, you tend to lose your patience when someone like bosco sees it as amusement to trot out lies and half-truths that have been fed to him by a steady diet of Faux News, Rush Limpbaugh, Daily Steamer and Dredge Report.

He himself will paint himself as a martyr for cancel culture although absolutely no one has taken away his ability to write his opinion (however unsupported by facts or logic or reason it may be) although his imagined martyrdom seems to win him sympathy from people like him who have a persecution complex despite holding all of the keys to power for at least 400 years. What he is seeing is that people are questioning the information on which he is using to make his decisions and he is uncomfortable with that. People who look like me have been killed for less and I make no apologies for his lack of comfort.

PurplePickles

@NMP

Bosco is a narcissist, except for the last part he fits the example to a tee.

Narcissistic personality disorder — one of several types of personality disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

NewMarketParent

@PurplePickles

Sounds about right from what I see. What a lonely life. *SMH*

DickD

I think Brad Young made it clear, he is not for opening Frederick County Schools.

NewMarketParent

@DickD

I know I personally kept at him about opening schools. I feel like he did the right thing only because he was forced to.

NickB

What a beautiful example of political theater.

NewMarketParent

JFC.

Every institution that has opened has saw their number of cases go from zero to insane pretty quickly.

Yet our governor is a political chicken****.

llrowse

NewMarketParent - It will be interesting to revisit public attitude regarding virtual learning, as more and more schools shut shortly after opening. We shall see the attitude of a certain rogue Board member, when these openings/closings inevitably continue across the country

NewMarketParent

@llrowse

I wrote on these very forums that we would see stutter steps from every educational institution that tries to bring people back. And sure enough....

This is where leadership matters and yet we don't have a governor who understands that and is more worried about his life after his office rather than his constituents.

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