Baltimore City Schools expanding optional increase in person learning

Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises pointed to declining grades and her belief in the districts ability to keep students safe as reasons to expand optional in person learning. The Baltimore Teachers Union and parents held a drive by rally while Santelises made that announcement to say teachers and students aren’t ready to go back. (WMAR)

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Howard students aren’t back in classrooms. Those in neighboring Carroll are. School officials explain why.

During a joint meeting between the Howard County school board and the County Council this week, council member Christiana Mercer Rigby said she’s received emails from residents about Carroll County Public Schools restarting its hybrid learning model while Howard is still in virtual learning. While the meeting was mostly about health metrics and the impacts of the vaccine rollout in the county, comparisons and questions about the stark contrast between Howard’s approach to education amid the coronavirus pandemic and Carroll’s were frequent. (Balt Sun)

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More delays on reopening school buildings in Maryland

Students in Montgomery County will not return to in-person classes until March 15 at the earliest, under a new schedule that marks another delay in classroom-based instruction amid the surging pandemic. The school board approved the change Tuesday in a 7-to-1 vote, with officials in the state’s largest school system warning that health benchmarks remain key. They also said state or federal guidance about schools could shift as coronavirus vaccines are more widely distributed. (Wash Post)

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Baltimore City will expand in-person learning to more schools; teachers union protests return to classrooms

Baltimore is planning to reopen more elementary schools for in-person learning despite the spike in COVID-19 cases this winter, the city schools’ leader said Tuesday.“We are expanding our in-person offering to include kindergarten through fifth grade students starting in mid-February,” said CEO Sonja Santelises, adding that more specifics of the plan will be announced Thursday. Some high school students may also have the opportunity to return. Speaking at the school board meeting Tuesday, she said all families will continue to have the option of keeping their children at home to learn online. (Balt Sun)

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McDaniel College moves forward with spring semester in-person classes, adds new COVID-19 rules

McDaniel College is moving forward with plans to hold in-person and hybrid courses this spring, but will require students returning to campus to follow new safety measures. McDaniel officials announced this week that all undergraduate students must complete a COVID-19 rapid test before returning to the school’s Westminster campus. Residential students will be tested during move-in and again seven days later. Commuter students will also be tested on Feb. 5-7, according to an email to the college community. (Balt Sun)

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Carroll County Public Schools facing staffing challenges during hybrid, parents mostly positive about kids’ in-person return

Carroll County Public Schools reported 118 staff members are not in school due to quarantining for COVID-19 as of Monday. Jon O’Neal, chief operating officer, said 16 of the 118 are central office staff members and that the number is fluid. “I think that people’s perception may be heightened or different now depending on how they felt as an individual regarding the decision to return to hybrid, but we face the same or similar effort as we did last time,” he said in an email regarding staffing. (Carr Co Times)

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MCPS principals say police officers stationed in schools are essential

As a debate about whether police should be stationed in schools rekindles, Montgomery County principals are doubling down on their position that the officers are needed to run schools effectively. In October, all 25 MCPS high school principals and the leaders of three special schools told the school board they support keeping school resource officers (SROs) in their buildings, despite calls for their removal by some students and activists who say the racial disparities in student arrests are beyond reform. (Bethesda Beat)

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Harford parents protest outside Board of Education building, demanding schools reopen

About 140 parents and children gathered in front of the Harford County Public Schools headquarters in frigid temperatures Monday night, imploring HCPS officials to reopen schools that have been closed for in-person instruction for much of the first semester of the school year, a trend that continues at the start of the second semester. “I just assumed that they would have gotten back on track by this point,” parent Maureen Saei, of Bel Air, said. (Balt Sun)

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