BALTIMORE — Baltimore City Public Schools finally released some of the data from last week’s COVID testing, and as a result more than 50 schools have transitioned to virtual learning this week.
Friday school leaders were preparing to have everyone in city schools return to in-person learning on Monday.
However, over the weekend after the total number of positive cases were calculated, city school leaders realized some of the schools wouldn’t have the adequate staffing either. The shortage in staffing happened due to a significant number of people who tested positive for COVID, and their ability to offer further testing to those students.
Monday morning around 60 Baltimore City Public Schools transitioned to virtual learning, most of which were middle and elementary schools.
Last week 7,074 COVID tests were given out at the high schools among students and staff between Monday and Wednesday. About 1,880 were staff members and 177 of them tested positive. At the elementary and middle schools 4,190 rapid test were given out to staff, of those 308 staff members tested positive.
The exact number of positive cases among students was not disclosed but Andre Riley, Director of Communications for Baltimore City Schools said, they’re working hard to retrieve the rest of the data to inform parents and keep them updated as quickly as they can.
“Were able to identify through our pooled testing and our follow up rapid testing who has COVID and who doesn’t. We knew coming back with the surge of omicron that there would be an increase in cases," he said. "You’re seeing that in other school districts, you’re seeing that in other communities throughout the country, we knew that and that’s what we’re experiencing now."
"We’ve had some challenges in aggregating that data and showing it properly but in the meantime we shared what we could because we wanted to get the information out to the public,” Riley said.
He also said that city school leaders are working to update the COVID dashboard on the city schools website.
“It’s not currently up-to-date we still have to update data that relates to last week and moving forward. But the goal is to get that dashboard more current as fast as we possibly can,” Riley explained.
Riley said for the individuals who tested positive they will be asked to quarantine and then receive a negative PCR test before returning to school.
Although things are rapidly changing as it relates to some kids getting back in class, he wants to insure parents their district is doing everything they can to keep everyone safe.
“If you’re sending your student to a Baltimore City Public Schools campus we’re going to be able to know who in our buildings have it and you’ll be armed with that information so you can make great decisions as parents a well. We’re going to ask our families bear with us, we will get through this together,” Riley said.
City School leaders said because they’ve been here before all students should be equipped with participating in virtual learning.
If not, parents can reach out to the schools to make sure their kids get everything they need like laptops and hot-spots to do work from home. Also virtual learning is supposed to last at least through the end of the week.