The Dundalk Eagle

County school sys­tem an­nounces plan to re­sume in-per­son learn­ing

County Ex­ec­u­tive Ol­szewski ob­jects to tim­ing of an­nounce­ment, lack of in­put

- By BILL GATES bgates@ches­pub.com Society · Bullying · Education · Newport County A.F.C. · Baltimore · University of Maryland Baltimore County · YMCA · U.S. Centers for Disease Control

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.

 ?? PHOTO BY MIKE URSERY ?? Bal­ti­more County Public Schools an­nounced last week that it is al­ter­ing its re­open­ing plan. Teach­ers will be­gin re­turn­ing next month, and se­lect groups of stu­dents will be al­lowed to re­turn be­gin­ning in Novem­ber.
PHOTO BY MIKE URSERY Bal­ti­more County Public Schools an­nounced last week that it is al­ter­ing its re­open­ing plan. Teach­ers will be­gin re­turn­ing next month, and se­lect groups of stu­dents will be al­lowed to re­turn be­gin­ning in Novem­ber.

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