BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises pledged Tuesday that every student will have a device for the upcoming academic year.
“All of our young people will have devices,” Dr. Sonja Santelises said.
This comes as the district presented its COVID-19 plan for the fall semester, with new procedures for both virtual and in-person learning.
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“The fall has to look and feel different,” Dr. Santelises said.
The school district is floating the idea of returning to in-person learning late fall in a hybrid model. But teachers say schools aren’t ready for either kind of learning.
“There are teachers who don’t have city issues laptops to do their jobs,” said Patrice Pilgrim, a teacher and the chairperson for the Baltimore City Teacher’s Union COVID-19 Task Force.
City Schools said their goal is to return to in-person learning because the “academic progress was compromised,” in the spring semester, according to Dr. Santelises.
But Pilgrim said there aren’t enough resources for virtual learning – with some students and teachers still without a laptop and/or internet.
The district also presented a plan for returning to in-person schools, leaving teachers with pre-existing conditions scared.
“I’m really really terrified,” said Evette Reid, a teacher at Creative City Public Charter School. She has asthma and said breathing with a mask on is difficult for her.
“It feels like your air is cut off, like you could be suffocating,” Reid described.
City schools said Tuesday night, “if a teacher’s health is compromised, they can potentially teach from home.”
Dr. Santelises said they are committed to everyone’s health and safety and if schools do re-open during the fall semester, the district has a plan with safety measures like regular disinfecting and smaller groups of students in classrooms.
Either way, Reid says she’s scared for the fall, for both her students and for her health.
“I love my kids, I love my job, but I’m afraid for my life,” she said.