CENTREVILLE — Students returned Tuesday to schools in Queen Anne’s County — many of them for the first time since March of last year. Everyone was excited to see students back in the building, Superintendent Andrea Kane said.

Teachers were prepared and students were a little sleepy getting into the new routine, Kane said, but transportation flowed well and so did food services. About 70 percent of over 5100 students made the return, although Kane noted, 20 percent of those whose parents indicated they would be participating in-person did not attend.

In a briefing to the Board of Education Wednesday evening, Kane said lunches to take home are available to every student that wants one and that cost is to be reimbursed through the federal program.

We do ask parents to call in if their student is not showing in-person, so the teacher can look for that child on line as they are teaching both online and in-person at same time., Kane said, and she reported they had been able to keep most students with their same teacher and continue to coordinate in as much as possible with principals to ensure that is the case.

Staffing has been adjusted to fill those gaps where there might be coverage needed, but there is still a need for substitutes, she said. And while in some instances, such as Sudlersville teachers have made accommodations to allow students to have a full-day experience by eating lunch in class with the teacher, that is a gracious act by faculty and a reflection on the student body size.

With the question of returning students to a full seven hours of instruction part of the issue still revolves around lunch, as teachers are required to have a duty-free lunch and planning period. To provide a lunch aide at certain schools, it is an added expense, Kane said. She has tasked principals with examining solutions and they are still working to look for creative solutions, she said, there may be schools where it is just not feasible.

It would be ideal, said board member Michele Morrissette, if the state would lift social distancing restrictions and leave mask guidance in place. That would make it much easier. Kane had said she will update the board if and when solutions present themselves.

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