BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Schools will not expand its optional in-person learning until the first two weeks of March 2021.

The new start dates are:

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  • Kindergarten through grade 2 will begin Monday, March 1
  • Grades 3-5 and grade 9 will begin Monday, March 15
  • Grade 12 will begin April 12, 2021, the first day of the Fourth Quarter
  • NOTE: An update on pre-kindergarten, grades 6-8, and grades 10-11 will be provided in early March, at the latest

For charter and contract schools, families should visit the charter schools page to learn which schools will be opting into each phase of in-person learning, and visit their school’s website to review specific in-person learning plans.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: 

On Wednesday, students and teachers decked out their cars with signs and met at Baltimore City Hall for a car caravan protest, calling on Baltimore City officials to come up with a written commitment for stronger safety standards.

“It’s not safe right now,” Ebonie Mitchell, a Social Worker at Baltimore City Public Schools, said.

“Everybody wants schools open. Educators are the first that really want schools open, but we have a list of demands that we really need to be met,” Fareeha Waheed, a Special Education Teacher at Baltimore City Schools, said.

While some teachers are calling the delay a victory, others are calling for a more concrete safety plan.

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Teachers tell WJZ before students can go back to in-person learning, they want school officials to make sure staff members are fully vaccinated, ventilation upgrades are completed, minimum public health metrics are met for one week and the school has a reliable testing program.

“We can make up learning loss, we cannot get lives back that are lost,” Caroline Schmidt, a Teacher at Baltimore City Schools, said.

With vaccines rolling out daily, teachers say it’s important school officials make sure everyone is vaccinated before returning to class.

“The utmost importance is to make sure that we’re all safe,” Mitchell said. “We all want to go back to school, we all want our kids back in school, but it has to be safe. There’s no compromise on that, absolutely zero compromise.

Baltimore City Schools said the decision gives more time for families to understand what in-person learning will look like, and give teachers and school staff to prepare for the transition.

Families are able to decide if they want to remain virtual or move into in-person learning.

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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