TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County Public Schools will resume in-person learning on January 3, Superintendent Darryl Williams announced on Thursday.
With cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant rising across the state, the Maryland State Department of Education had, this week, urged schools to resume in-person learning after the holiday break and Baltimore County Councilman David Marks issued a statement echoing this sentiment.
“With guidance from health experts and additional support from the county government, Baltimore County Public Schools is moving forward with its plans to have students and staff return to schools and offices in-person on January 3, 2022,” Superintendent Williams said on Thursday afternoon.
“We know that for most students, in-person learning is the best option to meet their academic and social-emotional needs,” Williams added. “We also understand the pandemic is not over and we must remain vigilant in our efforts to keep our communities safe.”
BCPS will be taking the following steps effective January 3, 2022:
- Providing COVID-19 resources to students, staff, and families to ensure shared understanding and promote safe learning environments.
- Postponing all athletic contests and extracurricular activities until January 10, 2022, to expand weekly screening testing access to all middle and high school unvaccinated students who participate in after school activities.
- Obtaining KN95 masks to provide as an additional option for students and staff.
- Providing onsite PCR testing for schools experiencing a persistent or schoolwide COVID-19 outbreak.
- Obtaining Rapid Home Testing kits for students and staff for distribution in schools with persistent or schoolwide outbreaks.
- Collaborating with the Baltimore County Department of Health to offer school-based COVID vaccine clinics.
BCPS officials added that Maryland’s guidelines for quarantine and isolation have not changed. Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for a minimum of ten days. Should Maryland adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s shortened isolation and quarantine guidelines, BCPS will update its practices accordingly.
“Earlier this week, I called for BCPS to allow for in-person learning, based upon the health metrics at each school,” said Councilman David Marks. “I would like to thank the school system and specifically (School Board) Chair Julie Henn for their work on the return policy. Our kids belong in classrooms.”