BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Forty-four schools within the Baltimore City Public Schools system will reopen for small group in-person learning by mid-November in an effort to help students struggling the most during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, school officials added to the list of buildings that will be able to accommodate small groups of students returning to the classroom. Originally, only 25 schools were set to take part, but volunteers offering to come back helped increase that number.

“There were actually a larger number than we initially anticipated really in part due to the number of volunteers. The number of teachers and principals that we had volunteering enabled us to offer more small groups,” city schools CEO Sonja Santelises said.

For certain groups of students at the schools offering in-person learning, families can choose to go in-person or remain virtual. Students not enrolled at these schools will not have access to in-person learning options.

“We’re trying to be responsive to what we’re hearing from parents, what we’re seeing in the surveys and provide them the choice,” Santelises’ chief of staff Alison Perkins-Cohen said.

A number of groups of students, including those experiencing homelessness, those with disabilities and those who are showing up for fewer than 20% of their online lessons, will be able to take part.

At a virtual town hall meeting Monday, school officials showed off classrooms, demonstrating how they will work to keep students safe. Each desk will be socially distanced with desk shields, and students will be required to wear masks and have their temperatures taken.

In addition, school buildings will have air filters or air purifiers and crews will work continuously to clean classrooms.

“We also provide mask breaks… we know it can be quite a challenge for the length of time to keep the mask on,” Debra Brooks with the school system said.

During the town hall, school officials said they’re still working out how to have teachers teaching both virtually and in person at the same time.

“It won’t hold the number of students we are used to seeing, but it will enable (us) to have families to have some options for bringing targeted students back,” Santelises said.

Students at Separate Public Day Schools that choose in-person learning will be assigned to one of the following four sites, to start on Monday, November 9.

  • Claremont School
  • Joseph C. Briscoe Academy
  • Sharp-Leadenhall Elementary School
  • William S. Baer School

Students in LRE-C, Early Learning Environment Pre-K/K, Early Therapeutic Environment Pre-K/K and Early Learning Environment- Deaf & Hard of Hearing Pre-K/K will be assigned to locations throughout the district if they choose in-person learning starting November 9.

Sites for prioritized students open Monday, November 16, the system said. The students are early or young learners, students with disabilities, kindergarten students, English learners, homeless students, students in grades 6 and 9, career and technical education students (CTE), and students who cannot participate consistently in virtual classes for various reasons.

  • Armistead Gardens Elementary/Middle School
  • Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts
  • Baltimore International Academy
  • Baltimore International Academy West
  • Bay-Brook Elementary/Middle School
  • Beechfield Elementary/Middle School
  • Benjamin Franklin High School at Masonville Cove
  • Callaway Elementary School
  • Carver Vocational-Technical High School
  • City Neighbors Charter School
  • City Neighbors High School
  • City Springs Elementary/Middle School
  • Creative City Public Charter School (program begins Dec. 7)
  • Digital Harbor High School
  • Empowerment Academy
  • Fallstaff Elementary/Middle School
  • Forest Park High School
  • Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School
  • Furley Elementary School
  • Graceland Park/O’Donnell Heights Elementary/Middle School
  • Hampstead Hill Academy
  • Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School
  • John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle School
  • Johnston Square Elementary School
  • Lakeland Elementary/Middle School
  • Lakewood Elementary School
  • Lillie May Carroll Jackson School
  • Maree G. Farring Elementary/Middle School
  • Moravia Park Elementary School
  • Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School
  • New Era Academy
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
  • Reginald F. Lewis High School
  • Renaissance Academy
  • Southwest Baltimore Charter School
  • The Historic Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle School
  • Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy
  • Walter P. Carter Elementary/Middle School
  • Westport Academy
  • William Paca Elementary School

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Kelsey Kushner

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