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Anne Arundel school board to begin accepting public testimony in person again for first time in 16 months

For the first time in 16 months, Anne Arundel County residents will be able to give public testimony to the Board of Education in-person during two of its meetings this week.

The public will have its first chance to attend a school board meeting in person since the pandemic began at a special session on Monday at 3 p.m., where the school board is expected to discuss how recent executive orders may affect the number of students allowed in school buildings for class, and on virtual and hybrid students. The board will also hold its regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

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“This is the next incremental step in our Board’s return to normalcy and I am pleased that we are in a place where we can hear directly from members of the public as they stand before us,” Board President Melissa Ellis said in a statement.

Only those who are offering public comment to the board will be allowed to attend, and everyone attending must wear a mask, according to a news release. Early in the meeting, ahead of board discussion, a section will be allotted to public comment, in which each agenda item will be allowed up to 10 speakers. There will be no virtual testimony at either meeting.

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To provide testimony, attendees must register through links online that will be made available at noon and at 5 p.m. Sunday at aacps.org/boardtestimony. The board will choose speakers by their first choice of agenda item on a first-come, first-served basis until available slots are filled. Should additional spots remain open, speakers will be allocated their second choice, again on a first-come, first-served basis. Speakers can not sign up to comment on more than two agenda items.

Written comments can be submitted online beginning at 5 p.m. on Sunday and up to noon the day prior to the meeting at the same link where you can register for in-person testimony.

Some of the agenda items for Wednesday’s board meeting include a presentation on Community Ambassadors in the school system and a vote on more than $36 million in contracts related to the new Rippling Woods Elementary School construction.

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