Baltimore City Public Schools to Start School Year Virtually, Archdiocese to Start In-Person

| July 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) announced today that it will start the 2020-2021 school year virtually. This comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the United States and countries around the world.

In a letter to BCPS students and families, CEO Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises explained the decision saying, “All schools in the district will open the 2020-2021 school year virtually, delaying the start of the hybrid in-person option until later this fall. Providing a hybrid learning option remains our goal. However, feedback in the surveys, polls, and virtual town halls made clear that while many families are interested in an in-person option, there is also discomfort among students and families with moving directly to reopening in August.”

She added, “I am proposing to the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners that the first day of school for students is Tuesday, Sept. 8, following the Labor Day weekend, to allow additional time before the start of the school year for professional learning for staff. This change would require approval by the Board, so this decision is not yet final.”

Also in the letter:

We will assess the need to bring in small groups of students, as necessary, during the virtual learning period this fall.

City Schools strongly believes some form of in-person learning is critical for a student’s academic success, mental health, and emotional well-being. However, we do not want to rush to act based on your recent feedback as well as health trends in our community and nationally. This moment is a vital time, and preparation for students and families is important. We will keep you updated about what a hybrid in-person learning experience could look like and the health safeguards that would be in place.

Please rest assured that when it is time to transition to a hybrid in-person learning option, there will be a comprehensive and thorough plan to return in place as well as opportunities to orient families and students to what safe in-person learning could look like for their student. As a parent, that is what I would expect to occur, and that is what our students deserve.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore is preparing to bring most of its students back into the classroom in the fall. An update from the Archdiocese’s Task Force on reopening schools said, “Although most school facilities will be able to accommodate all students for five day, in-person instruction while safely social distancing; some schools, due to their size, will incorporate a “blend” of in- person and remote learning that maximizes in-person instruction. Families who do not feel comfortable returning their child(ren) to in-person instruction will be able to have their child(ren) participate remotely from home. Detailed reopening procedures will be finalized and shared by July 24th.”

The Archdiocese has many schools in and around Baltimore City including St. Ignatius Loyola Academy in Federal Hill.

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