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Sec. Of Education Cardona Touts Biden’s Return To School Guidance In Baltimore

U.S. Department of Education Facebook page
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivered remarks at Graceland Park-O'Donnell Heights Elementary Middle School in Southeast Baltimore on Wednesday, touting the Biden administration's guidance in returning students to in-person learning this fall.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona touted Wednesday in Baltimore the Biden administration’s guidance to return children to classrooms as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Children learn best in the classroom, he said in remarks at Graceland Park-O'Donnell Heights Elementary Middle School in Southeast Baltimore. He called on educators to follow the "Return to School Roadmap,” a series of documents that aim to assist educators in returning to in-person learning this fall.

“I remember last year we were reopening schools and we didn't have the science, we didn't have the experience, we didn't have the lessons learned. We have it now,” Cardona said. “Our children shouldn't have to compromise any more of their educational experiences or time in school due to the increase in community spread.”

The plan calls for school leaders to encourage and provide access to vaccination for all eligible students and staff members; vaccines are approved for children 12 and up.

It recommends that administrators follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's masking guidance for K-12 schools, which recommend "universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status."

Cardona’s visit to Baltimore came as school systems throughout the region revamp guidance for students returning in the fall. Students in city and Anne Arundel and Baltimore county schools must wear masks when they return to their classrooms regardless of vaccination status.

Mayor Brandon Scott introduced Cardona. He said the Biden administration’s plan carves out a reliable path forward to in-person learning.

“The academic success of our students has to be prioritized and must be preserved,” the Democrat said. “We see the greatness in our young people, despite what the world tries to tell them about themselves each and every day. But we cannot and we will not let this ongoing pandemic prevent us from providing our children access to the quality education that they deserve.”

Cardona toured a Student Advancement through Language Acquisition (SALA) program that works with English learners before his remarks. In Spanish, ‘sala’ translates to ‘living room.’

“Living rooms are where families come and they grow together. That's what I saw here today,” Cardona said. “Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing so many kids excited, being back in their classrooms, reengaging with one another and and with their teachers.”

Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics. She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves. There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team. Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has also won awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association for her use of sound and feature stories. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.