Dear Maryland teachers, parents, and education leaders:
I have always believed that every single child in Maryland deserves a world-class education, regardless of what neighborhood they happen to grow in.
While school systems have made strides with remote learning during the pandemic, far too many students simply remain unable to thrive in such an environment. By the end of this school year, the cumulative learning loss for students could equate to five to nine months, on average, with the losses disproportionately affecting students of color, and disadvantaged students.
Meanwhile, federal, state, and academic health experts all agree that we should work together to safely get students back into classrooms.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, has said that “our default position should be to try to keep the schools open and get children who are not in school back in school as best as we possibly can.”
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recently stated, “Children absolutely need to return to in-school learning for their healthy development and well-being.”
- Data from contact tracing and epidemiologists have indicated that school reopenings do not increase community spread, or contribute to increased hospitalization rates.
The Maryland State Department of Education has approved safe reopening plans for every school system, and state health officials have issued science-based protocols. More than $1.2 billion in federal funding has been made available to support Maryland schools during the pandemic. The state has provided PPE and testing resources to counties. School systems have begun the process of vaccinating staff.
We are calling on all county school systems to make every effort to return to hybrid in-person instruction no later than Monday, March 1.
By law, these decisions to reopen schools ultimately rest with the duly elected and appointed county school boards. But I want to be perfectly clear: I will do everything I possibly can to give all of our children the chance to get back into the classrooms.
I want to commend all the teachers, administrators, parents, and students, who have continued to adapt under difficult and trying circumstances. It is truly inspiring.