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Baltimore County Teachers Want Answers About School Reopening

Teachers Association of Baltimore County

Baltimore County teachers have a lot of questions about what the reopening of schools in September might look like.

TABCO, the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, plans to meet Thursday to draw up a list of concerns for school administrators.

TABCO President Cindy Sexton said she has received hundreds of emails from educators with questions regarding the start of school.

One question teachers are asking, according to Sexton, is what happens if you are back in school and a student is not wearing a mask?

“Would there be some kind of discipline accountability for the students who just refuse to wear a mask and are physically able,” she asked.

Sexton said the union wants all the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control followed. She added there is a growing consensus among county teachers that everyone returning to class pre-pandemic style would be unsafe.

“Right now we’re really leaning towards a statement that says in the school buildings, full time can’t possibly be an option right now because it’s not safe,” Sexton said.

That is one of three options for reopening that the Baltimore County Board of Education will be briefed on Tuesday night. The other two are online learning only, and a hybrid of distance and in-class instruction. The county is to submit its reopening plan to the state next month.

Tom DeHart, the executive director of CASE, the Council of Administrative and Supervisory Employees, which represents principals and other administrators, said any reopening plan needs to be based on a myriad of factors.

“Any reopening, whatever it may look like, needs to be ensured to be safe and orderly and done based on facts and science and not a political decision,” DeHart said.

DeHart said he is concerned that students could be COVID-19 carriers, which would put adults in a school building at risk. Then if teachers get sick, DeHart said it could be challenging to find substitute teachers. Also, he said because some classrooms in older schools are small, that would make social distancing difficult.

“Any time it seems you come up with an answer to a question, it invokes maybe 10 more questions,” DeHart said.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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