- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Maryland officials announced Wednesday that public schools will remain closed through April 24, while D.C. officials described plans to work with hospitals to open drive-through testing sites to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Most students and teachers in Maryland have been engaging in distance learning online since school closures went into effect for March 16 and were set to end Friday. Wednesday’s announcement extends the closures for another four weeks.

The announcement came two days after Virginia officials decided to close campuses for the remainder of the academic year.

“After lengthy discussions with health experts from around the state, I have made the decision, along with the State Board of Education, to extend the closure of all public schools in Maryland for an additional four weeks,” State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon said.

“We do not make this decision lightly. However, with the challenges facing our state and our country, we have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our school communities and the communities at large,” Ms. Salmon said.

The order does not apply to child care and daycare facilities, which may remain open.

Maryland on Wednesday had 423 confirmed cases of the coronavirus after seeing its highest, one-day rise of 74 new cases.

For the time being, attention turns to ensuring students’ continuity of learning. Montgomery County Public Schools will begin providing laptops for students who don’t have access to a computer at home, starting Thursday.

Monica Goldson, interim CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools, said in a letter to families that she hopes to announce PGCPS’s continuity plan next week.

“We are working to ensure that PGCPS provides every resource possible to support you during this time,” Ms. Goldson wrote. “These unprecedented circumstances continue to evolve and we will continue to prioritize the wellbeing of children, families, employees and our entire community.”

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