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Baltimore City Schools hosts virtual meeting to address small group in-person learning

Posted at 8:41 AM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 23:14:19-05

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore City Public School Board hosted a virtual town hall on Monday so everyone could learn more about small group in-person learning and the safety procedures that go along with it.

City schools wanted to give parents and staff a look inside a classroom with a virtual tour and give them time to ask questions. Many people are uneasy when it comes to in-person learning because they don't think it's safe. Although most teachers want to be back with their kids and parents want their children to have the best education, they also don't want them to get sick.

However, some don't feel city schools is doing enough to provide them with the protection they need. A representative from the Baltimore Teachers Union mentioned that at last week's meeting, when the dates were announced. He stressed the safety procedures they want are being done in other districts and should be implemented in the city as well.

As of now, starting in just one week, about 100 students will be back in the classroom - at three different schools. About 50 Pre-K and kindergartners will be in five different schools and then in two weeks, 25 schools will be open.

Despite an increase in new COVID-19 cases in more than three dozen states across the country including Maryland, Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelisis says the district will move forward with it’s plan to bring students back into the classroom.

“It’s why we’re emphasizing again small groups returning.”

Students in Pre-K, Kindergarten, sixth and ninth grades as well as those having difficulty virtually learning are among some of the kids set to go back later this month.

Students with special needs are scheduled to return a week earlier. During the virtual town hall, schools leaders gave viewers a live tour of a classroom, showing PPE and how learning pods will be six feet apart to practice social distancing.

Currently, the plan is to have no more than six or seven students in about four to five classes at a time.

“Schools will get sanitized. There is a process by which for classrooms and bathrooms its three times a day.”

The district says 44 schools will reopen and all students will be required to wear a mask.

“We’re watching the city’s measures and we are watching our own numbers to make be sure that if the time comes we wont just close our pods like we are used to doing in cases of COVID or we may have to restrict or cap numbers based on what the shift’s our in the city.”

Now the CEO did say families have the option to keep their kids home, but she still believes this plan is safe and says there’s been no serious outbreaks at more than a dozen learning centers.

But some parents and teachers remain skeptical. WMAR did reach out to the union for a comment, but we did not hear back at time of publication.