close
Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you’ll find answers to some common questions not covered on other pages in this area of the website. If you have questions that are not included, please email healthandsafety@bcps.k12.md.us.

Are students and staff required to get the vaccine?

Employees are required to be vaccinated unless they apply for and receive a religious or medical exemption from the district. Employees who receive an exemption must be tested weekly by City Schools or share results of a third-party test. If employees do not meet these requirements, they are subject to progressive disciplinary measures.

COVID vaccination is not required for students, but it is strongly encouraged for anyone who is eligible (ages 5 and older). Vaccination is the best way to keep our community safe, and students who are vaccinated are able to participate in all school activities.

Visit the Baltimore City Department of Health website for more information about the COVID vaccine and dates and locations of free vaccination clinics.

What is a COVID “outbreak,” and how is the community informed about it?

If there are three or more confirmed, linked COVID-19 cases among students, teachers, or staff within 14 days in a classroom or cohort, City Schools considers this a classroom outbreak. A schoolwide outbreak is defined as 

  • 5 or more classroom outbreaks (as long as the COVID-positive individuals are from different households) or 
  • 5% or more unrelated students, teachers, or staff have confirmed cases within 14 days (with a minimum of 10 individuals). 

If an outbreak occurs, a letter is sent to the school community, the state is informed, and the district’s COVID dashboard is updated.
 

What is City Schools’ masking policy?

Based on the latest guidance from the federal health officials, the use of masks and face coverings will be optional for all persons in Baltimore City Public Schools campuses beginning Monday, March 14, 2022.

While masks will be optional generally, they will still be required in three cases: 1) close contacts for 10 days after exposure; 2) those recovering from COVID for 10 days from the start of isolation; and 3) someone who develops COVID-like symptoms while at school. 

How is physical distance maintained during in-person learning?

Physical distancing will be maximized with different classroom layouts, including layouts with students facing each other. Arrangements of desks and other classroom areas are designed to keep space between individuals while still offering engaging environments for learning.

How is lunch handled?

Meals are served in the cafeteria. The distance between students will be maximized to the extent possible while accommodating all students. Air scrubbers have been installed in cafeterias for air filtration. For additional information about meals at your school, please contact your school.

What is the plan for cleaning and disinfecting?

Custodial staff follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. Frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door handles, light switches, faucets, toilets, urinals, dispensers, handrails, cafeteria and restroom walls) are cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day. More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on the level of use. Find out more about cleaning and disinfecting here.

How are students being kept safe on school transportation?

Yellow buses are disinfected at the end of the day, and frequently touched services are cleaned after each school drop-off. To the extent possible, students are spaced out on yellow buses to maximize physical distancing.

Taxis are also disinfected at the end of each day, with surfaces cleaned after each drop-off. During the pandemic, a maximum of two students (from the same or different households) can ride together in a taxi.

The Maryland Department of Transportation has instituted cleaning processes during the COVID pandemic. They include daily disinfecting of MTA buses and frequently touched surfaces (e.g., fare boxes) and multiple wipe-downs of light rail and subway vehicles. Riders are spread out as much as possible, and standing is not permitted. Please visit the MTA website for more information.