Now that schools will remain closed through at least April 24, school systems across Maryland are scrambling to come up with ways to teach children from a distance.
Baltimore County School Superintendent Darryl Williams said instruction on line will begin for county students on Monday, April 6.
Williams said students have supplemental work to get them through next week. He added that next week is all about principals and staff getting ready to teach children on line.
“What that may look like, what needs to be covered, who has access, who doesn’t, how we get the print material to folks, so we can really go live on April 6,” Williams said.
On Thursday, principals will be briefed on the plan.
“Next week is transitioning everyone to this continuity of learning plan,” Williams said.
Multiple challenges lie ahead, including getting laptops to elementary school children. Baltimore County provides laptops to all middle and high school students.
“We’re working out a plan of possibly distributing some Chromebooks to our younger students,” Williams said. “But we also have to be sensitive to their needs. From grades K-2 we may have to supplement with some materials and hard copies.”
Williams said some county school staff members may have internet access issues as well.
Getting printed materials to students is also a logistical issue that needs to be worked out. Williams said they will be printing out hard copy materials for students at the central school office. The documents may be distributed to students at the county’s “grab and go” sites where they are handing out food, or at individual schools.
“We have to make sure we have the social distancing,” Williams said. “We can’t have a gathering of 10 or more people.”
On Wednesday, Maryland School Superintendent Karen Salmon announced public schools would be closed through April 24. She said during that time they would have to find creative ways to teach children with disabilities.
“We want to make sure we are meeting the standards and we are abiding by what is reasonable during this time frame,” Williams said.
Williams said he is holding virtual meetings with his cabinet every day. Following Salmon’s announcement, he said Wednesday was “a whirlwind.”
“We want to make sure we have a plan,” Williams said. “We’ll make the plan available this week. We’ll have it on our website.”