Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Robert Lang, WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and FM 101.5
Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santileses says some Baltimore City students will return to their school buildings starting next month when the second quarter begins.
The plan is limited to students in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, special education and those experiencing homelessness. The district will also bring back students who have missed at least 20% of online lessons.
Santileses said the school system is trying to get students who cannot access classes virtually, noting their educational progress is being held back.
“We have to meet our essential obligations to educate and meet the needs of all our students, including the ones we know we are not reaching virtually,” Santileses said.
The system will ask sixth and ninth graders — students transitioning to new schools — as well as students in career technology studies, such as those trying to be certified to be an auto technician or a nursing assistant, to return.
The exact number of schools reopening and the dates for return were not announced.
Santileses said the reopening of buildings will be done based on safety standards. She says parents of the students being allowed to return to school will be allowed to have their children continue to learn virtually if they don’t feel safe.
Baltimore Teachers Union President Diamont’e Brown urged the board to keep the schools closed through the end of the first semester.
“Our district has proven to be limited in its ability to meet basic needs like providing toilet paper, providing AC, heat, windows that open, sufficient technology and fully-staffed schools,” Brown said.
The policy will require staff who teach or assist special needs students to return to work. Other staff could volunteer to work remotely.