By Mike Hellgren

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — More than one-third of Baltimore City’s public schools closed to in-person instruction Monday, a last-minute decision made because of the high number of positive Covid-19 cases. In all, 60 of the city’s 155 schools went virtual.

You can see a list of the schools and any updates here: https://www.baltimorecityschools.org/alerts-updates

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“I’m super worried. It put me into a dark place. I’m scared. I am afraid,” mother Khayah Benjamin told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. She has several students in the system including a second grader whose pod tested positive at George Washington Elementary. That school remains open.

“They’ve got to test everybody, and she can’t come back until the whole test results are in, which I understand,” Benjamin said. “I just got over it. It was like the worst—and I’m vaccinated. I’m just scared. I’m terrified.”

The school system has yet to update their covid dashboard, so it is unclear how many cases there are in the schools.

The Baltimore Teachers Union tweeted that teachers have reported some schools never tested students when they were supposed to do so and even had to trash tests that were not taken to the lab.

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They had previously called for all-virtual learning for the first several weeks after the holiday break—until everyone could get tested—but the schools’ CEO would not budge.

Some lawmakers have demanded classrooms stay open, with the mayor promising 100,000 tests and 80,000 high-filtration masks.

In Baltimore County, all classes will be virtual Monday and Tuesday.

The county’s teachers union said it will likely not extend beyond that, with the exception of some schools that have had a high number of cases.

“II is my understanding there is absolutely no discussion about a systemwide shift to virtual,” TABCO President Cindy Sexton told Hellgren.

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Sexton said staffing has become a major problem. “We’re at a crisis level. And that is certainly not a Baltimore County Public Schools’ issue. It is a Maryland issue. It is a national issue. …The quarantine and covid has just really exacerbated the situation.”