NewsLocal News


Anne Arundel County Board of Education votes to reopen schools next month, as hundreds of teachers protest the plan

Posted at 10:56 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 08:54:11-04

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. — The Anne Arundel County Board of Education voted 5-3 in favor of a hybrid plan to reopen schools, as hundreds of teachers protested calling the plan unsafe.

Under the plan, teachers would return to the classroom on Nov. 2nd. Students in ECI and pre-K to second grade would return to school on November 16th. Kids in third to fifth grade will return on Nov. 30th

Students would return for two days a week, on Monday and Tuesdays or Thursdays and Fridays, while continuing virtual learning three days a week.

The vote came as the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County held a car caravan rally to protest the district's reopening plan.

Hundreds of concerned teachers drove to the board of education building, honking their horns, displaying their signs and showing their displeasure for a plan they believe will put students and teachers at risk.

Russell Leone, who is the president of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County, said they're concerned if the district will be able to enforce CDC guidelines and protect everyone from COVID-19.

“We are really advocating for the school system to have clearer and enforceable guidelines before opening our schools back up," Leone said.

Teachers are also disappointed the board didn't include them in the conversation to craft a plan to open schools safely.

“We want it to be a mutual agreement that we worked on together," Leone said.

Lisa Taylor Soriero wore a hazmat suit to the protest. She's an art teacher for Anne Arundel County Schools. If she goes back, she believes her life will be at risk.

“I weigh 80 pounds. If I get sick, I’m going to die," Soriero said. "It's just not safe."

Julie McClary, who is a special education teacher in the county, said her students who are between ages 3 and 5 won’t be able to wear a mask or social distance.

“It’s just not a feasible or safe environment for them," he said.

Adam Wyndham was not a part of the protest. Wyndham, who has daughter with special needs, wants schools to reopen.

He said virtual learning for his daughter is basically useless.

“I don’t want to go back unsafe either. I do want safe practices," he said. "But, I think the opposite leaving our children at home with no in-person support I think is more damaging."

Parents will have the choice to send their kids back to school or allow them to continue learning remotely for either the semester or the full year. Families must indicate their choice by October 15th, according to the district spokesperson.

In a press release, the district also said, "AACPS will continue to work with the Department of Health and closely monitor the health data to make further decisions on middle school and high school students, with the goal of beginning to bring those students into buildings beginning in mid-December. The school system will also continue to increase the number of students taking part in in-person learning at its developmental centers and specialty sites."