By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A third of Baltimore City schools remain virtual after an abrupt move by the school system Sunday night based on staffing and case numbers. The schools’ CEO, Dr. Sonja Santelises, apologized at the school board meeting Tuesday:

“I understand the inability to send out notices sooner also had a negative impact on the schools, school leaders and school staff in nearly a third of our schools. For this or any inconvenience or concern that resulted, I am truly sorry,” she said. “These are very challenging times. In our determination to make the best decision we can for students, we sometimes fall short of that mark. This is one of those times when we inadvertently caused confusion and concern rather than clear communication. …I resolve to do better.”

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Dr. Santelises said she remains committed to keeping schools open if it’s safe.

“In-person instruction is the best option for our students. We are not considering a transition to virtual learning across the entire district. As long as we have the staff to run our schools and test our staff and students, we will keep our our doors open for classroom instruction,” she said.

Teacher Jocelyn Providence, who recently recovered from covid, remains concerned.

“Our mild case left us unable to function for many days and took us until a couple of days ago to fully recover,” Providence told the school board.

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She also spoke about how the district has handled covid, “We got here by people in power making decisions that did not incorporate the directly impacted.”

Providence said many teachers have questions moving forward. “What are the accommodations for immunocompromised students and staff members? Why is there inconsistency on whether staff members should be getting tested or not?”

You can find updates on Baltimore City Schools here: https://www.baltimorecityschools.org/alerts-updates

Here is the latest status of Baltimore County schools: https://www.bcps.org/covid19/COVID19_dashboard_school_status

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Many Baltimore County schools reopened Wednesday after being closed for the past two days because of the pandemic.