Baltimore City Schools Reopening | WYPR

Baltimore City Schools Reopening

Advocates say the education gap is being made worse by virtual learning. Baltimore considers a bill that would label systemic racism a public health crisis. An infectious disease doctor urges self-discipline to maintain health and safety measures during the holidays. And Maryland school officials keep their eyes on metrics and remain flexible.

The head of Baltimore City Schools says so far, so good on the opening of more than two dozen schools this week. Governor Hogan says, no, Covid-19 is not like the flu, and tightens restrictions statewide. Plus, advice from a physician on how to mitigate infection risks when celebrating the upcoming holidays.

In Baltimore, 27 public schools opened today for the system’s most vulnerable students. An eviction prevention bill is in front of City Council tonight. And in Towson, a long-awaited free circulator bus finally gets the green light.

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About 1,200 Baltimore City students are set to re-enter the classrooms of 27 schools Monday morning for the first time last spring when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The partial re-opening prioritizes the district’s most vulnerable students, including students experiencing homelessness, students with disabilities, English language learners and those who have been offline for at least 20% of remote classes. 

Across Maryland, tightened restrictions and other orders are in place because of the spike in Covid-19 cases. On the heels of Gov Hogan’s press conference yesterday, Baltimore City Schools’ CEO announced a new plan to return students to classrooms. And in Baltimore County, a late-night meeting of the school board yields yet another revision of plans.

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Baltimore City Public Schools will scale back a planned partial reopening from 44 to 27 schools and open on-site testing at schools as local COVID-19 cases spike, CEO Sonja Santelises announced Tuesday evening. 

“I had epidemiologists telling me back in April, beware of the fall/winter surge. And it is happening,” Santelises said. “It's also why we've started with small groups, because we wanted to make sure that we could move through this.”

 

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As Maryland school system leaders grapple with how to safely resume in-person learning, one thing is clear:  It will be very expensive. Four superintendents told a state Senate committee Wednesday that they need millions from the state to make it work. 

Baltimore County ballot drop boxes in traditional Republican corridors are seeing less traffic than their counterparts in Democratic zones. An immunologist critiques the governor’s vaccination plan. And Baltimore City Schools shares details on a plan to reopen 25 schools next month for in-person learning.

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1,000 Baltimore City students will be able to return to the classroom next month. The district will offer this option to pupils it says are struggling with virtual learning - like students with disabilities. Alison Perkins-Cohen, chief of staff to the city schools’ CEO, lays out the preparation needed.

In a virtual town hall, parents and teachers grill Baltimore City Schools officials on their plan to return some students to classrooms in November. And a Maryland House of Delegates workgroup votes to revamp state policing laws.

Baltimore City Public Schools' Facebook page


 Baltimore City schools administrators released Wednesday a plan to bring back a group of students that includes the district’s most vulnerable to 25 schools starting in November. In a town hall Thursday night, parents and teachers raised many questions and concerns to those  administrators.

“Why do families have a choice [to return to the classroom] but teachers and staff don't?” asked one commenter on a Facebook livestream. “If my child decides to continue to do virtual learning, will they have the same teacher?” asked another.

If you haven’t applied yet for a mail-in ballot, the clock is ticking. And if you haven’t responded yet to the 2020 Census, well, you’re about to miss the deadline. Plus, a teacher’s-eye view of the upcoming return to classrooms in Baltimore.

The city’s health commissioner says daily COVID cases are on the rise as flu season is upon us. Some parents of special needs students crash a meeting of Baltimore County teachers to make their voices heard. And today, an announcement from the C-E-O of Baltimore Schools about a return to the classrooms this fall.

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When Amy Stephens learned that St. Augustine School in Elkridge, Maryland, would offer a combination of in-person and virtual learning this fall, she asked if she could teach her music, theater and strings classes via livestream. She was told no, she would need to be physically in the classroom, interacting with the entire student body each week. 

So a couple of weeks ago, she quit her job.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Gov. Larry Hogan used a wide-ranging press conference Wednesday to respond to a barrage of criticism from local leaders about rising COVID-19 case numbers and the state’s plan for the upcoming election. WYPR’s Rachel Baye walks through what he said with Matt Tacka.

The Daily Dose 7-21-20

Jul 21, 2020
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Baltimore City Schools delay in-person classes until later this fall. The City Council passes a charter amendment for a new watchdog role over city government. A spike in COVID-19 cases prompts a new mask order in Baltimore County. And Baltimore County elections workers say the governor’s order to open all polling places in November is going to be a problem.

Drew Morris/Flickr


Baltimore City Public School leaders said Monday that they will delay the return to in-person classes until later this fall, saying the system must balance pandemic health measures with the need to get students back into classrooms.

 

“We were determined that our plan be data-based, both in terms of COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact of distance learning on our most vulnerable students — while avoiding any influence from attempts to politicize this situation,” Sonja Santelises, CEO of the school system, said in a statement.

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

Parents are wrestling with the question of whether to send their kid into the classroom this fall, log them on, or come up with Option C.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­What to do about school. It is the only thing parents talk and think about.

Will it be 100% virtual? 100% in-person?  A hybrid model with some in-person teaching?  Will masks actually be worn? Could shields and dividers help? Why not have all classes outside? Transportation issues, bathroom access…recess? 

Noah Walker

Baltimore City School administrators haven’t made any decisions yet about how classes will be held in the upcoming school year, but they’ve announced some possibilities.  And they’re asking students, teachers, and families to engage on the topic through surveys, virtual town halls, and focus groups throughout July.