At the heart of this litigation isn’t really a concern about the student member’s voting authority but a desire to get the system to return to in-person instruction instead of virtual learning. The Howard County schools had initially sought a return to the classrooms by February, but now the system must remain online through mid-April, thanks, in part, to a recent four-four split within the board, the student member having joined with three adult colleagues in voting against an earlier date. Whether to return to in-person instruction, pursue a hybrid strategy or stick with online only has been a contentious issue for many school systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are reasonable arguments to be made for all three strategies. But given the recent uptick in the COVID-19 caseload, hospitalizations and deaths, a cautious approach to public health would seem the most prudent, particularly in a school system where there’s a much smaller “digital divide” than many of its neighbors and student achievement is high.