Politics & Business

Baltimore Metropolis colleges to broaden optionally available in-person studying alternatives – WBAL TV Baltimore

Baltimore City Public Schools plans to open 25 schools for students who district officials said need the most help, but parents will have the last word about whether they want to send their children back to school.|| Coronavirus updates | Maryland’s latest numbers | Where to get tested ||The district’s CEO, Sonja Santelises, said the majority of students will continue virtual learning in November and through the rest of the semester, and that the new hybrid education plan is designed to give students and parents options.”The majority of our students will remain in virtual. All families will continue to have a virtual option, so (it’s) not ‘everybody must return to in-person,’ but we do know that for numbers of our young people, their learning experience in the virtual space just is not meeting their needs, and so we’re building slow. We’re building on our learning from our in-person summer school, building on our learning from student-learning sites,” Santelises said. “(We’re) now moving to more in-person options for small groups of students across 25 schools.”Read the CEO’s letter to the school communityBut more in-person opportunities will be offered for students with disabilities, early learners, English learners, students seen less than 20% of the time in virtual classrooms, homeless students, transition grades (sixth and ninth grades) and career and technical education.So far, school officials have not released the list of the 25 schools that will reopen, but they said the buildings are ready for students and staff.”We are able to provide staff with the (personal protective equipment) that they need. We had long started in the late summer changing all of the air filters,” Santelises said.Santelises said families will choose whether to participate in the opportunities or continue virtual learning for the rest of the semester. Over the next few weeks, principals at host sites will connect with families via phone calls, emails, meetings or other means to determine their interests and develop their school plans.For the second semester, the district will continue to offer virtual learning for families who want to remain virtual and will be looking to expand in-person learning opportunities at all schools for more groups of students who choose to attend in-person.The district’s reopening announcement comes two weeks after the Baltimore Teachers Union held a rally at district headquarters, calling for the system to remain in all-virtual learning, saying it was too dangerous to reopen classrooms. School officials said staff members will be granted the option to take leave or use other accommodations.Santelises said the district has been working with health officials to ensure the health and safety of students and staff.Health and safety measures being used at schools include mandatory face masks for staff and students, daily health screening and temperature checks, daily cleaning and disinfecting, and small class sizes to facilitate social distancing. These practices will continue as in-person learning expands.But some Baltimore City parents said the latest plan lacks details.”Details have been missing since day one when they released the 173-page document. It still had ‘details forthcoming’ in that document. We need details,” said Joe Kane, chairman of the Parent and Advisory Community Board. “We got to make sure we’re doing what’s in the best interest for our students in the city and not letting politics drive these decisions.”The district will conduct a survey in November so families can provide feedback. That will be made available on the district’s website and social media channels. Also, families can send feedback via email to reopening@bcps.k12.md.us.The district is scheduled to host a special town hall at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday on the district’s Twitter and Facebook channels and City Schools TV to share more information about the plan for the next steps in in-person learning.Baltimore Teachers Union releases statementThe Baltimore Teachers Union released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying: “This morning, the Baltimore Sun published Baltimore City Public Schools’ plans to bring certain students and staff together for in-person schooling. The article in the Sun contained information that was vague, and at times, contradictory. Rather than announcing these changes at the previous evening’s School Board meeting, or informing employees in advance and giving them the necessary job-specific information they need, the district leadership chose to give their employees the same information, at the same time, as the general public.”The district’s decision to release this important news in such an incomplete fashion creates stress and confusion and is indicative of a lack of transparency, respect and care for student and employee safety, as well as the safety of students’ families, and the greater Baltimore community. Over the past several weeks, BTU members have sent hundreds of emails to the school board and Central Office leadership asking questions about safety and sanitation that have gone unanswered. The board and the district have not addressed a myriad of questions about health accommodations, safety, and the effectiveness of an unstable and under-resourced in-person learning environment.”In its deflections and posturing, the board and the district have emphasized equity, choice and opportunity as the main reasons to reopen schools. However, as the lone voice of opposition to the CEO, School Board Commissioner Durryle Brooks noted last night, that putting the most marginalized students and their often inter-generational families at risk to contract a deadly virus isn’t equity. Putting their needs, and first and foremost, their health at the center of planning is the truest manifestation of equity, and BCPSS has consistently failed at that task.”The BTU commends Commissioner Brooks for his bravery in speaking truth to a false and imposed choice that many parents are facing. No parent should have to choose between their job and their child’s health. Opening schools because our students don’t have technology or access to virtual learning isn’t expanding their opportunities, rather, it’s putting them in harm’s way. BTU members know better than most the importance of educational and developmental milestones that we want our students to reach.”However, we also recognize that a school system that failed to provide proper sanitation before a pandemic should not be entrusted to provide safe environments during one, and especially not with a plan that is still incomplete (see Appendix D of the District’s Reopening Guidelines, which addresses socially distant classroom setup and merely states that the document is still in development).”

Baltimore City Public Schools plans to open 25 schools for students who district officials said need the most help, but parents will have the last word about whether they want to send their children back to school.

|| Coronavirus updates | Maryland’s latest numbers | Where to get tested ||

The district’s CEO, Sonja Santelises, said the majority of students will continue virtual learning in November and through the rest of the semester, and that the new hybrid education plan is designed to give students and parents options.

“The majority of our students will remain in virtual. All families will continue to have a virtual option, so (it’s) not ‘everybody must return to in-person,’ but we do know that for numbers of our young people, their learning experience in the virtual space just is not meeting their needs, and so we’re building slow. We’re building on our learning from our in-person summer school, building on our learning from student-learning sites,” Santelises said. “(We’re) now moving to more in-person options for small groups of students across 25 schools.”

But more in-person opportunities will be offered for students with disabilities, early learners, English learners, students seen less than 20% of the time in virtual classrooms, homeless students, transition grades (sixth and ninth grades) and career and technical education.

So far, school officials have not released the list of the 25 schools that will reopen, but they said the buildings are ready for students and staff.

“We are able to provide staff with the (personal protective equipment) that they need. We had long started in the late summer changing all of the air filters,” Santelises said.

Santelises said families will choose whether to participate in the opportunities or continue virtual learning for the rest of the semester. Over the next few weeks, principals at host sites will connect with families via phone calls, emails, meetings or other means to determine their interests and develop their school plans.

For the second semester, the district will continue to offer virtual learning for families who want to remain virtual and will be looking to expand in-person learning opportunities at all schools for more groups of students who choose to attend in-person.

The district’s reopening announcement comes two weeks after the Baltimore Teachers Union held a rally at district headquarters, calling for the system to remain in all-virtual learning, saying it was too dangerous to reopen classrooms. School officials said staff members will be granted the option to take leave or use other accommodations.

Santelises said the district has been working with health officials to ensure the health and safety of students and staff.

Health and safety measures being used at schools include mandatory face masks for staff and students, daily health screening and temperature checks, daily cleaning and disinfecting, and small class sizes to facilitate social distancing. These practices will continue as in-person learning expands.

But some Baltimore City parents said the latest plan lacks details.

“Details have been missing since day one when they released the 173-page document. It still had ‘details forthcoming’ in that document. We need details,” said Joe Kane, chairman of the Parent and Advisory Community Board. “We got to make sure we’re doing what’s in the best interest for our students in the city and not letting politics drive these decisions.”

The district will conduct a survey in November so families can provide feedback. That will be made available on the district’s website and social media channels. Also, families can send feedback via email to reopening@bcps.k12.md.us.

The district is scheduled to host a special town hall at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday on the district’s Twitter and Facebook channels and City Schools TV to share more information about the plan for the next steps in in-person learning.

Baltimore Teachers Union releases statement

The Baltimore Teachers Union released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying: “This morning, the Baltimore Sun published Baltimore City Public Schools’ plans to bring certain students and staff together for in-person schooling. The article in the Sun contained information that was vague, and at times, contradictory. Rather than announcing these changes at the previous evening’s School Board meeting, or informing employees in advance and giving them the necessary job-specific information they need, the district leadership chose to give their employees the same information, at the same time, as the general public.

“The district’s decision to release this important news in such an incomplete fashion creates stress and confusion and is indicative of a lack of transparency, respect and care for student and employee safety, as well as the safety of students’ families, and the greater Baltimore community. Over the past several weeks, BTU members have sent hundreds of emails to the school board and Central Office leadership asking questions about safety and sanitation that have gone unanswered. The board and the district have not addressed a myriad of questions about health accommodations, safety, and the effectiveness of an unstable and under-resourced in-person learning environment.

“In its deflections and posturing, the board and the district have emphasized equity, choice and opportunity as the main reasons to reopen schools. However, as the lone voice of opposition to the CEO, School Board Commissioner Durryle Brooks noted last night, that putting the most marginalized students and their often inter-generational families at risk to contract a deadly virus isn’t equity. Putting their needs, and first and foremost, their health at the center of planning is the truest manifestation of equity, and BCPSS has consistently failed at that task.

“The BTU commends Commissioner Brooks for his bravery in speaking truth to a false and imposed choice that many parents are facing. No parent should have to choose between their job and their child’s health. Opening schools because our students don’t have technology or access to virtual learning isn’t expanding their opportunities, rather, it’s putting them in harm’s way. BTU members know better than most the importance of educational and developmental milestones that we want our students to reach.

“However, we also recognize that a school system that failed to provide proper sanitation before a pandemic should not be entrusted to provide safe environments during one, and especially not with a plan that is still incomplete (see Appendix D of the District’s Reopening Guidelines, which addresses socially distant classroom setup and merely states that the document is still in development).”

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25 Baltimore City Schools, which have not been identified, will welcome small groups of students for in person learning. That will happen sometime next month. The district made good on it’s promise to provide an update in mid-October pic.twitter.com/6pwk9dq8DT

— TIM TOOTEN SR (@tvtooten) October 14, 2020

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