A vote of the Maryland State Board of Education on Tuesday requires all Maryland public school systems to submit plans to bring students back to the classroom before the end of the calendar year. The plans must be submitted to the state board by the end of the first academic quarter.

Gov. Larry Hogan reiterated the mandate later in the day at a 5 p.m. press conference when he announced he was moving the state to Stage 3 of the Maryland Strong Roadmap To Recovery.

Hogan’s Tuesday press conference is on the heels of an Aug. 27 press conference where he said it was essential to get kids back to the classroom.

“In order for us to keep moving forward and to keep making progress, it is absolutely critical that we begin the process of getting our children safely and gradually back into the classrooms,” he said at his Aug. 27 press conference.

Eight of Maryland’s 24 counties have yet to submit plans that include in-person instruction this year.

The Tuesday vote of State Board of Education comes with an additional requirement that school systems provide an average of 3.5 hours of synchronous learning per day, meaning real time instruction in a teacher led virtual setting.

Pre-K students must get an average of 1.5 hours of synchronous learning per day.

Source: Maryland Department of Education, Sept. 1, 2020

The decision of the board comes after a review of each school system’s recovery plan, where it was determined that “mandated days and hours were not being met in all school systems.” All school systems in the state began the school year with an all virtual curriculum for the first quarter.

KCPS Superintendent Karen Couch said that Kent’s plans submitted to the state on Aug. 14 are within the guidelines the State Board passed Monday to bring students back to the classroom — and that only minor adjustments will be needed to meet the synchronous instruction requirements.

“Overall, KCPS is pleased that our Recovery Plan fits within the parameters outlined in the Governor’s recommendations for integrating students back into our schools,” Couch said on Wednesday.  “Kent is in good shape and will only need to tweak a few things in our schedules to be in compliance with MSDE’s requirements for synchronous instruction.”