Maryland Board of Ed gives schools go ahead on reopening; HCPS facing issues


Sophomore Elaina Huffman preps her desk for online school. (Summer Grace)

      Harford County Public School (HCPS) students have started the 2020-2021 with all virtual classes. Students also have the option of attending a Learning Support Center, according to Fox45 news. These are set up in multiple schools all around the county.

      Over the summer, Harford County’s School Board had considered making a hybrid model. This would have allowed students to have the option of both in-person and virtual learning. However, in the end, they decided it wasn’t feasible. 

     Many NH students would rather be learning in person and in that environment. Junior Abbey Huneke says she, “do[es] better when she can interact [with others].” Other students feel the same way. In a poll, 67 percent of students surveyed stated that they don’t like virtual learning. 

     Although there are high hopes of returning to school, after only one week, many students and staff attending Learning Centers are already in isolation. According to Fox 45 news, there are 48 staff members as well as students now quarantining.

     “On the first day of school we had to send home 21 people,” HCPS Superintendent Sean Bulson said in an interview. He explained it was a combination of staff and students involved. Over the second and third days of school, Bulson said, “It was like 23 and 25, and then on Friday we had 46 people we had to send home.” He notes that this outbreak is only with a very small percentage of our students in our schools. 

    Regardless of the outcome of Learning Centers, Bulson is still optimistic about students returning to schools soon. “I know our plan right now says that we are virtual until January, but this board is committed. You’ll be seeing much more from us about having kids in-person soon,” Bulson shared.

     There were many difficulties preparing for an all virtual start to the school year. Fox 45 news reported that school board officials announced, “nearly 15,000 of the 27,000 Chromebook computers they had ordered for elementary school students will not be delivered until after school started.” They are scheduled to be arriving sometime in October.

     On Aug. 27, Governor Larry Hogan announced that every school system in Maryland is now authorized to begin reopening. According to Fox 45, “the legal authority and final decision making on safe openings continues to rest with county boards of education.” On Sept. 1, Maryland’s Board of Education called for the remaining counties that hadn’t yet created plans for returning students to the classroom for in-person instruction before 2021 to reevaluate their reopening plans by the end of the first quarter.