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Baltimore County families rally to reopen schools

Posted at 10:45 PM, Jan 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 07:56:21-05

TOWSON, Md (WMAR) — A group of Baltimore County families are fighting to get schools back open for students, saying the long term devastating effects of virtual learning outweigh the potential health risk of returning back to school.

"You could tell immediately that things just weren’t working," said Sean Kammer.

It’s been almost a year since students moved to a completely virtual school model, and the negative impacts are evident for the Kammer family.

"As a composite group of boys, they’ve gone from a middle-high 'B' performer overall as an average to a 'D' if we’re lucky," said Sean.

The four boys between grades 4 and 9 are more than ready to get back into school.

"I feel like if we go back, we’ll just have a higher chance of performing better in academics," said 7th grader Michael Kammer.

They’ve joined a growing group of Baltimore County families calling for in person learning to be an option.

The group Re-Open Baltimore County Public Schools held a rally over the weekend, asking for the school system to be transparent about their return to school plans because the long-term effects of virtual learning can be devastating… not just on academics, but social isolation and depression are taking their toll.

"The experience with online school is just terrible," said 4th grader Matthew Kammer.

The Baltimore County Public Schools spokesman said they are continuing to work very hard to reopen schools as soon as possible and consistent with the state health metrics for reopening as safely as possible.

The county's recovery plan states a hybrid model could be introduced in February, if health metrics allow.

The group believes the county could be ready now.

"I’m a nurse and I’ve seen first-hand what this virus does to patients and I understand how important it is to be safe and I think if the county took the appropriate precautions the way the private schools have done, and the kids wear masks and they wash their hands and they stay 6 feet apart, then they’ll be safe," said mom Aileen Kammer.

"This virus isn’t going anywhere anytime so we are gonna have to learn how to live with it," said 9th grader Brandon Kammer.

Re-Open BCPS is a group of BCPS stakeholders dedicated to advocating for the rights of their children to be properly educated. They say they feel families deserve the right to choose the option of safe re-entry to the classroom and respect the rights of families who choose to remain virtual while acknowledging the hard work of BCPS teachers.