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Baltimore County Education Unions Want Distance Learning This Fall

Seth Sawyers/flickr

The unions that represent teachers, administrators and other school employees in Baltimore County are calling for students to begin the school year at home, doing online learning. 

The unions said Monday at a news conference that school buildings are unsafe. 

Last week, Baltimore County School Superintendent Darryl Williams said he was leaning towards virtual learning for students.  The unions Monday urged him to do just that.

Cindy Sexton, the president of TABCO, the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, said her membership supports distance learning.

“My emails have probably been running 10 to 20 to 1 in favor of virtual learning,” Sexton said.

Union leaders said a number of educators would either retire or resign rather than risk exposure to COVID-19 in a school building. That would create a staffing crisis.

Jeannette Young, the president of Education Support Professionals of Baltimore County, said schools are too crowded for social distancing.

“I’ve seen classrooms with 30 plus students,” Young said. “I’ve seen offices with cubicles side by side, 6 inches apart.”

Union leaders said they were confident the virtual learning in the fall would be better than what happened in March, when school systems rushed the switch to online in an emergency. They also said they could reach those students who did not attempt virtual learning in the spring.

“We will be able to teach those children,” Sexton said. “We will be able to reach them.”

Superintendent Williams said he will make a decision about how schools will open by the end of the month. There are three options: 100% virtual learning, a hybrid of in class and online, and everyone back full time.

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