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Fall 2021 Frequently Asked Questions

City Schools is sharing a wide variety of information designed to support your transition back to in-person learning. While this information is listed in various places on this website, we have a developed this FAQ to assist you in getting the support you need.

If you have specific questions that are not listed here that you would like to see added, please email them to communications@bcps.k12.md.us.

Health and Safety Protocols

(Full information may be found at baltimorecityschools.org/safety-procedures)

Does City Schools have health and safety procedures?

Yes. Since summer 2020, City Schools has maintained and regularly updated its Health and Safety Standard Operating Procedures. These are the rules we use to keep students and staff safe, including cleaning, testing, social distancing, and more. The SOP is updated monthly.

What are the main procedures?
  • Ventilation: higher efficiency mechanical filters and HEPA air purifiers will continue to be used to help mitigate infectious aerosol transmission. 
  • Handwashing and respiratory etiquette: Routines and education to support handwashing and respiratory etiquette will continue to be implemented. 
  • Symptom monitoring: everyone entering a City Schools building will be reminded to monitor their symptoms and to not enter if they are experiencing symptoms 
  • Quarantining and isolation: individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 will continue to be isolated and their non-vaccinated close contacts will continue to be quarantined
  • Cleaning and disinfecting: cleaning and disinfecting procedures using products designed to combat COVID-19 will continue to be used daily. Cleaning and disinfecting will be done by each building’s team instead of a centrally deployed team.
How will physical distancing work?

Physical distancing will be maximized to the extent possible. However, every room and school are unique. There will be instances where students are close to each other due to space limitations.

How will you clean rooms and buildings during the pandemic?

CDC cleaning and disinfecting guidelines will be followed. Frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, phones, light switches, faucets, toilets, urinals, fixtures, dispensers, handrails, cafeteria and restroom walls, and other surfaces and objects that students and staff frequently touch will be cleaned, and disinfected daily, at least twice a day.

How will lunch be handled?

Meals will be served by the cafeteria. The distance between students will be maximized to the extent possible while accommodating all students. Air scrubbers have been installed in cafeterias to provide air filtration. For additional information about mealtime protocols, please speak with your child’s school.

How will students be transported safely?

Students will continue to be transported via yellow buses, cabs and MTA. Yellow buses and taxis are disinfected at the end of the day. Frequently touched services are cleaned between each school drop-off. Social distancing will be used whenever possible on yellow buses, based on space limitations. Taxi: a maximum of two students may ride. Students from different households may share a ride. MTA: riders are to spread out on the vehicle when possible. Standing on buses is NOT permitted.

How does early release for heat impact student transportation, especially with MTA?

City Schools is in regular contact with MTA regarding student transportation. During early dismissal days, students attend classes in the morning and depart in the afternoon

City Schools has the capacity to support students during early dismissal - students are not stranded.

City Schools does not provide transportation credits. However, we do provide a $250 stipend to families of students we transport to aid with transportation due to our capacity challenges. 

Academics

If a student has to stay home, what strategies are in place to support remote learning?

Schools will support learning for students who need to quarantine. This support will include a combination of offline learning assignments, asynchronous learning assignments, and synchronous learning. Families will work directly with their schools to understand how and when the continuity of learning will occur for their child(ren) during quarantine. Students will be equipped with technology to access their online learning.

Can my student attend school virtually?

For nearly all students, the answer is no. We are limiting access to virtual instruction because many students incurred significant learning loss while participating remotely last year. In addition, students also suffered emotional distress and feelings of isolation. Our young people must return to the classroom, where they can be with their peers and benefit from personal instruction by teachers who care about them. 

I heard about a Virtual Learning Program What is it and how may I participate?

City Schools offers a Virtual Learning Program to a very limited number of students; most of those seats have been filled as of September 14, 2021. This program is for the small number of students who flourished in a virtual environment, as demonstrated by their strong attendance and excellent grades last year. However, most students did not qualify and are required to attend school in-person.

My student has a serious health concern, or I do not feel comfortable with them attending school in-person. What can I do?

Most students are required to attend school in-person. City Schools has proven procedures that keep students and staff safe – see above. However, there is a limited, secondary pathway for eligible parents:

  • Home and Hospital designation - If you feel that your student has a medical condition that prevents them from attending school safely, you may apply to the Home and Hospital program for in-home personal instruction. Please note: there are specific medical criteria for participation, and a doctor’s authorization is required. You should also know that this program is not virtual; in-person instruction takes place in your home. If you have questions about Home and Hospital, please contact Dr. Louise Fink at LLFink@bcps.k12.md.us or Janet Lippman at JLippman@bcps.k12.md.us. You may also call the Home and Hospital office at 410-396-0775. 
Is there a plan and timeline to get 1/2 or full staffed for IEP aides?

Yes. While there is a shortage of additional adult supports, the Office of Special Education is working with schools regarding the existing staff they have to determine if staff can support multiple students. Additionally, we are encouraging the public to apply with City Schools if they would like to serve in the capacity of Special Education Paraeducator. In closing, we are working with our agency partners to recruit additional adult supports.

Do students need to bring their laptops to school daily?

•    We will be issuing computers to 100% of our students by the end of October.
•    It has not been determined district-wide if students will need to bring them to school daily. 
•    Currently schools have the discretion to determine how students transport the computers daily. Some principals have already indicated that they plan to have students leave their laptops at school rather than transport them back and forth. But again, there is no district-level decision here yet.
 

If parents were not given grades from last year, who should they contact?

If parents did not receive grades from last year, they should contact the school to receive a copy of the students’ report card.

Will City Schools have to use make-up days for early dismissal?

Early release days don’t have to be made up.

What should parents do if they feel their school does not have enough PPE or supplies?

The parent should coordinate with the principal. If not, contact our Ombudsman.I will note that City Schools has been very proactive in stockpiling and providing PPE and supplies to our schools during the pandemic. 
 

COVID-19 TESTS AND SCREENINGS

(Full information may be found at baltimorecityschools.org/covid-screens)

Will there be COVID-19 testing?

Regular COVID-19 screenings resumed on September 13 at all City Schools campuses. There are two types of free testing for students and staff– no-symptom screenings (asymptomatic/ individuals with no apparent COVID-19 symptoms) and testing when individuals exhibit COVID-19-like symptoms (symptomatic). Visit baltimorecityschools.org/covid-screens to learn more about the screenings and tests.

Who is required to participate in COVID-19 screenings or tests?

All students are required to participate unless they are fully vaccinated. However, vaccinated children must receive a COVID-19 test if they are a close contact of an individual who is COVID-19 positive. Visit baltimorecityschools.org/covid-screens to learn about potential exemptions.

What does my student need to participate in the screenings or tests?

Families must agree to support our rules in writing and to agree to the COVID screenings. Please download, complete, and return this form to your school (English or Spanish). If a family does not agree, the student may not be able to fully participate in school activities. For details on how to opt-out of the City Schools testing program, please reach out to your student’s principal. However, if they do so, they must conduct their own third-party testing in line with the schedule required by their school. 

What if my student tests positive?

Students who are identified as COVID-19 positive will need to isolate, and their close contacts will need to quarantine.  Students who test negative for COVID-19 and are not close contacts will return to school immediately.  The school will send out its formal notification of a positive case and follow disinfecting protocols. More details on our responses can be found at baltimorecityschools.org/covid-screens

Who must quarantine, and for how long?

Any student or staff member must quarantine if they are unvaccinated and test positive for COVID-19, or if they are deemed a close contact of a person that tests COVID-19. Quarantine periods are for 10 days or until the person tests negative for COVID-19. Students and staff may not attend school or work during the quarantine period.

Will I be notified if someone at my school or office has COVID-19?

Yes. City Schools will notify you in short order once a confirmed COVID-19 case is identified at your location, or if you are a close contact. This notification will come via letter from the school.

How can I find out how many COVID-19 cases have occurred at my school or in City Schools?

City Schools maintains a data dashboard that tracks the results of schools and the district. View it here or at baltimorecityschools.org/covid-screens. Note, the dashboard is updated at least once daily, so check regularly for updates.

 

 

What is a good place to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

City Schools has partnered with the Baltimore City Health Department to provide vaccination clinics at schools. A schedule is available here. Please check regularly as new dates and locations are added to the schedule frequently.

Back to School Forms

Where may I get the items in the Back-to-School Packet?

This year, City Schools will print limited quantities of the annual Back-to-School Packet – the family calendar, family guide, and code of conduct. These items and other vital forms may be downloaded at baltimorecityschools.org/backtoschool.