**** Updated: March 27, 2020 ****
How are COVID-19 school closures in Maryland and around the nation likely to impact our students who are already vulnerable and far behind academically?
We’ve pulled together this blog post to help you better understand what’s happening in real-time and offer some basic principles all of us can embrace as we continue to advocate for students.
We will be updating this post as the facts on the ground change, so check back often.
FAST FACTS: MARYLAND SCHOOL CLOSURES
On Thursday, March 12, Governor Larry Hogan closed Maryland schools from March 16 to March 27. During this time, schools will receive extensive cleaning. On Tuesday, March 24, Governor Hogan ordered all non-essential businesses to close.
Update: Statewide school closures have been extended until at least April 24th. Virtual learning will begin on Monday, March 30th.
What to expect:
Distance Learning: Districts are submitting remote learning plans to the state. District plans are expected to use available technology–TV, phones, paper–rather than making a big push for new laptops and wi-fi; they expect instruction to start rather rudimentarily the first week or two and become more sophisticated as they get rolling.
Standardized Testing: The Maryland State Department of Education requested a waiver from federal regulations requiring standardized testing and is awaiting a reply from the U.S. Department of Education, which has indicated that they will approve waiver requests.
Student Food Insecurity: All school-aged children in Maryland are eligible for up to 3 meals a day plus a snack. The state and school districts have set up distribution locations across Maryland. Find a location near you.
Maryland: The Maryland General Assembly ended its 2020 session early on Wednesday, March 18 after passing 660 bills in 4 days to send to the desk of Governor Hogan. There is a chance of a special session re-convening in late-May.
Congress: The US House of Representatives passed a relief bill that features provisions for K-12 Public Schools including $50B directly provided to states to help stabilize school funding. The Senate bill, passed on March 25th, includes only $13.5B for K-12 schools, with the bulk of that money going to school districts based on the number of students that qualify for Title I federal aid.
Department of Education: The U.S. Department of Education announced broad flexibility for states in waiving federal testing requirements and clarified that federal law “should not be used to prevent schools from offering distance learning opportunities to all students, including students with disabilities.”