More Schools Return to Online Classes as Coronavirus Cases Rise Across the Nation

NEW CLASSROOM: The Panditaratne sisters work through math problems in their dining room. REUTERS/Maria Alejandra Cardona

Schools around the country are returning to virtual learning or delaying in-person classroom plans as coronavirus cases continue to soar nationwide in record-breaking numbers.

Some school districts that had been engaging in hybrid learning — with some days of virtual schooling alternated with in-person class days — are switching to a full virtual model through the end of the year. Maryland’s Hartford County Public Schools announced Monday that it was making the transition by Friday due to the new cases.

The district said it would reconsider its decision when cases fall below 15 per 100,000 new positive tests per day and under a positivity rate of 5 percent for two weeks.

“There are many details to work through, but as the county COVID-19 metrics have met our threshold, we must take action to ensure the health of our students and staff,” Hartford County Public Schools said on Facebook.

Des Moines Public Schools will also return to total virtual learning for all grades beginning next week. Iowa’s Department of Education approved a waiver submitted by the district to return to virtual learning until the end of November, Des Moines Public Schools said on Twitter Tuesday.

A Covid-19 positivity rate of more than 15 percent in Polk County, the state’s most populous county, had the school board considering the recommendation to submit a waiver, it said last week.

Philadelphia Chief of Schools Evelyn Nunez sent a letter alerting schools to plans to delay in-person plans until at least the end of November, NBC Philadelphia reported Tuesday. The city’s school district hoped to transition to hybrid learning after Nov. 17, assuming public health recommendations regarding the pandemic allowed it.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Doha Madani

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