The Dundalk Eagle
County school system announces plan to resume in-person learning
County Executive Olszewski objects to timing of announcement, lack of input
The Baltimore County Public School system announced on Thursday it will bring students back into their schools earlier than anticipated.
Schools opened last week using remote learning and virtual classrooms. That was planned for the entire first semester, ending on January 31, with in-person education resuming on February 1.
Now, students will begin returning to in-person education in mid-November.
According to a timeline released by the county school system on Thursday, teachers were allowed to teach remotely from their classrooms beginning this past Monday.
In an email to county school staff, Superintendent Darryl Williams wrote: “Since the pandemic began, we have had two primary concerns – the health and well-being of our students, staff, and community and continuing to support our students’ academic progress.
“We have been particularly concerned about
students who might benefit most from in-person instruction – students with disabilities and our youngest learners. Our new timeline for staff and student reentry focuses on providing in-person services to those two groups of students.”
From October 2 through October 9, parents of identified students will be surveyed about returning for inperson instruction.
(“Identified” students include students with disabilities at separate public day schools and self-contained regional programs, and students in preschool, prekindergarten and kindergarten.)
On October 19, all teachers and remaining school staff will return to school buildings. By November 13, small groups of identified students return for in-person instruction.
Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr. had some harsh words for how the plan was introduced.
“Baltimore County’s educators, parents, and students have faced unparalleled uncertainty during this crisis,” Olszewski wrote in a statement released Thursday night. “They deserve collaborative planning and clear communication from the Baltimore County Public School System. Today’s announcement provided neither.
“My administration has consistently asked for specific updates about plans to reopen our schools. Instead, alongside our educators and parents, I learned the details of BCPS’ reopening announcement earlier today. As County Executive and a former teacher, I want to get all our kids back to the classroom as quickly as possible — especially our youngest learners and students with disabilities and special needs. That is best done together.”
In addition, off-site daycare hosted by the Department of Recreation and Parks and PAL centers will open at a time to be determined.
On-site daycare hosted by the YMCA in school-based facilities will start on Oct. 5, and on-site daycare hosted by private and before- and after-care providers in school-based facilities will resume on Oct. 12.
Families that do not want to send their children back will have the option of continuing with remote learning.
“These are our first steps back toward in-person instruction for all students,” Williams wrote. “Due to the ongoing health pandemic, conditions and our response to them are subject to change.”
Safety procedures to protect students and staff from COVID-19 will follow guidelines from county health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The school system will release further details as they become available.
Olszewski expects to be in that loop.
“As we move forward, I expect collaboration, communication and partnership between County officials, educators, and the families of Baltimore County,” he said.