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Parents concerned about Omicron as students head back in classrooms Thursday

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Posted at 5:52 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 06:35:46-05

BALTIMORE — Students in Baltimore City are getting ready to go back into classrooms Thursday for in-person learning.

On Monday BCPS announced new plans to help minimize the spread of COVID in its schools.

Part of BCPS’s new mitigation strategy started with making sure everyone was tested before going back to class. Most high school students started that testing Wednesday but some parents like Lara Clayborn thinks there still could be more options to help minimize the spread.

Clayborn has a daughter in 11th grade who attends Baltimore Design School, and she was one of the parents who took her child to get tested Wednesday before returning to school Thursday.

“I’m just actually glad they did it early before they got back into school. We are to go online and check the test results,” Clayborn said.

Her daughter Jiordyn received a PCR test which takes around 12 to 48 hours to get the results. She said although she was thrilled to hear about BCPS being proactive and requiring all students and staff to be tested before returning, she thinks there still should have been other options for parents who wanted to keep their kids home to attend class virtually.

“Unfortunately that option is not available which I don’t understand. It shouldn’t only be an option available for those who need to quarantine because a lot of parents they just don’t feel comfortable sending their students to school,” Clayborn said.

But in a meeting this afternoon Mayor Brandon Scott shared the opposite opinion.

“We have purchased here in Baltimore and additional 200,000 at home testing kits for community distribution in the coming weeks. And it is vital that our young people for me that our young people return to school to in person learning,” Scott said.

Monday we told you about BCPS’s new mitigation strategy to help combat COVID-19. That strategy highlighted five key commitments they believe will help prevent the spread of COVID. Including requiring weekly test for staff, accelerating COVID testing this week for all students, establishing a new COVID-19 response division, adapting a test to stay approach and allowing families to submit consent forms virtually.

Clayborn said she just hopes the strategy’s work to ease her worries about her daughter getting sick while at school.

“Hopefully it will cut down on some of the transmission, with the new variant going around that’s enough to cause some concern. So that’s basically the gist of a lot of parental concerns,” Clayborn said.

Wednesday, the Baltimore Teachers Union responded to the city schools mitigation strategy with some suggestions of their own.

A few ways they want to help combat the spread of COVID include facilitating a high filtration mask drive which has already started. Increasing the amount of young people who participate in the schools testing program and promoting vaccination among young people as well.

For information concerning how you can donate to the high filtration mask drive you can email info@baltu.org .