State Sets “Guardrails” for School Reopenings, LEAs Must Meet Benchmarks

Governor Larry Hogan, joined by Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon, today held a press conference to provide an update on Maryland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and school reopenings.

Governor Hogan announced that while there have been troubling spikes across the country, Maryland’s positivity rate has continued to decline since its peak on April 17. He explained that contact tracing has been successful in nearly 75% of cases, and encouraged Marylanders to answer if they receive a call from “MD COVID.”

Hogan strongly encouraged Marylanders to refrain from traveling and stay at home if possible, saying he wants to make it “very clear to the people of Maryland again that this crisis is not over and your actions may help determine whether we see a resurgence of the virus here in Maryland.”

State Superintendent Karen Salmon reiterated that the deadline to finalize their school plans is August 14. Local systems will have the flexibility to determine how to reopen, in accordance with state-mandated guardrails.

Schools must follow state health protocols for responses to confirmed cases of COVID-19 and must meet a series of benchmarks for reopening, including:

Conduit Street has the latest updates on school reopening plans.

To address the digital divide, the State is allocating $100 million to technology. The State will also provide $100 million for tutoring services to help students who have fallen behind while learning from home.

Hogan reiterated that Maryland’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is based on a “flexible, community-based approach” and that he will not hesitate to take statewide actions if necessary. The governor also reiterated his call for counties – including Local Health Departments, liquor boards, and local law enforcement – to emphasize compliance with statewide orders for bar and restaurant practices.

Useful Links:

State Education Guardrails Guidance

Protocols for Confirmed School COVID-19 Testing

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