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Baltimore County will discuss three options for resuming school this fall after coronavirus shutdown

The Baltimore County school board will meet virtually Tuesday to discuss three options for learning this fall based on the region’s status in reopening from the coronavirus pandemic.

The first scenario, for instance, would maintain all remote learning if Maryland and Baltimore County return to Phase 1 of reopening, which could happen if the state sees a new spike in COVID-19 cases.

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If Maryland and Baltimore County are still in Phase 2, the school system would reopen schools at 30%-35% capacity with strict social distancing guidelines. Different groups of students would come to school on a weekly rotation, and some students would continue to learn through live online instruction.

Students attending in-person classes would do so Monday through Thursday, and Friday lessons would occur online without real-time interaction with educators. Likewise, teachers would be on duty in person and remotely Monday through Friday, with Friday serving as a planning day.

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Baltimore County and Maryland are both currently in Phase 2 of Gov. Larry Hogan’s coronavirus recovery plan.

The last scenario would see schools reopened for 100% in-person learning if the state and Baltimore County enter Phase 3. All students and staff would return to school buildings, where social distancing requirements would be relaxed, and face coverings could be optional. Additional requirements would be in place for cleaning, screening for symptoms, and the isolation of sick persons and enforcement of quarantining.

Limitations will be placed on the number of visitors to schools and offices in each scenario.

For all stages of the plan, school buses will carry between nine and 21 students rather than 64. Students will sit six feet apart from each other on the buses, with one student per seat.

Regardless of the recovery phase, the school system also is designing a “reengagement program” to help students who had little to no contact with educators during the spring shutdown. The site-based programs will be tailored to the needs of different schools. The programs will focus on students’ social and emotional health, giving them opportunities such as sharing their experiences with school counselors, among other opportunities to focus on their well-being.

The district also plans to offer food options for students even if they’re not physically in the classroom.

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