On January 11, Baltimore Family Alliance sent the following communication to BFA families.
Good morning Baltimore Families!
Late in the evening on Sunday, City Schools announced they were moving 57 (and counting) schools to a virtual format beginning Monday, through January 19th. Many families were faced with an inability to find childcare or ensure their child has meals typically provided through school - which in turn impacted parents’ ability to work.
This lack of communication at a reasonable hour, resulting in no time to make adequate plans, has been extremely frustrating for many parents. We know that the Baltimore Teachers Union advocated for COVID testing prior to (not after) the return to the classroom, in an attempt to prevent large-scale positive pools that would risk shutting down entire schools.
It can feel as though decisions are being made in a vacuum, without understanding the complete downstream implications on city families from the standpoint of mental, emotional and economic well-being.
The past two years have been incredibly stressful for students, families and school staff. We are fortunate that the Baltimore City Public School System (City Schools) has been a national leader in COVID safety precautions for schools, with weekly pool testing, masking requirements, quarantining protocols, and requiring teachers and staff to be vaccinated. Where City Schools have failed to meet the needs of our families is in effectively communicating and in balancing risk in a way that allows City families to be successful.
We have heard the stories of significant delays in communicating pooled testing results to families and unclear timelines for quarantining across the district. These are standards that should be managed and communicated at the district level. All families deserve the same transparency and support, regardless of which school their child attends.
Ultimately, families decide whether Baltimore City is the right place for their children, and whether public school is the best option. Some families have the resources to send their children to private schools or to homeschool their children - but not every family can do this.
That is why it is so important to advocate for policies that account for the needs of ALL families, so that ALL families have access to resources for educational and economic success. Please share your voice to ensure all Baltimore families get the support they need. Two advocacy opportunities are listed below - the first is time-sensitive.
Today (January 11) is City Schools’ January Public Board Meeting. Public comment will be taken at this meeting. Any members of the public interested in participating must e-mail Leatrice Jones (LLJones02@bcps.k12.md.us) between 4:15 – 5:15 PM on January 11. Only the first ten submissions will be included in the Board meeting. The email to Leatrice Jones must include:
More details about the public board meeting can be found here.
You can email City Schools leadership directly and let them know what your family needs to make City Schools schools work for your family:
Dr. Santelises’ email is CitySchoolsCEO@bcps.k12.md.us
Christian Gant, Board Executive Director’s email is email@example.com
Parent and Community Advisory Board’s Email is firstname.lastname@example.org
In past years, we have written letters, rallied, and marched for adequate school funding. We kickoff 2022 by demanding better communication from City Schools. Baltimore Family Alliance thanks you for your continued engagement in education advocacy.