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Nearly three-fourths of Carroll County Public Schools students attending in person

Nearly three of every four Carroll County Public Schools students attend school at least four days a week.

More than half the students at each level are in the building with 81% of the elementary school population, 71% of the middle school population and 61% of the high schoolers, according to data provided by Cindy McCabe, chief of schools for CCPS.

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In total, 17,526 students, or 72% of the student population are learning in person most days of the week.

The school system gives students the option to attend school in-person or learn virtually. Before Carroll’s Board of Education allowed students to attend at least four days a week, students had the option to attend in-person classes two days a week in a hybrid model. Half the student population on average was participating in hybrid learning, which resumed Jan. 7, according to data provided in early March, including 400 attending four days a week at the time. By March 22, all students had the option of four days of in-person learning.

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Debates on whether students should be in person or virtual sparked about a year ago and have continued throughout this school year with all stakeholders. Carroll’s school board consistently voted to bring more students back inside the classroom throughout the fall and winter.

Ken Kiler, vice president of Carroll’s board of education, noted that more than 70% of students are in the classroom on a Facebook post.

“And, it continues to increase. It is important to recognize that,” he said on Wednesday. “Families asked for the choice on how their students could attend and have used it.”

Fellow board member Tara Battaglia also took to Facebook the same day to put to rest the rumor the board is voting next week to send students back to school all five days. Only special education students have the option to attend all five days at the moment.

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“I don’t know where this came from, I don’t know where this started from, and I really don’t care,” she said on Wednesday in a Facebook live video. “But I’m going to squash it right now.”

She said no one has brought up the idea and the false rumor has caused a divide in the community. She added that she personally thinks it should remain the way it is until the end of the school year.

With the increase of students in the classroom has come an increase of COVID-19 cases in the schools. The system’s dashboard that shows the number of in-person students and staff with the virus reported on Wednesday more students have the virus than at any time since the school system began releasing weekly data.

There were 97 people, including 82 students, who had the virus this week and 199 people have symptoms. Of the symptomatic people, 183 were students and 16 were, an overall drop of 24 from last week. Karl Streaker, director of student services, recently said the higher numbers could be a result of allergies from the weather and the larger population of students in the buildings as kids are now able to attend in-person classes at least four days a week.

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