City students return to the classroom amid omicron surge

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The Baltimore City Public Schools district office on North Avenue. Students returned to the classroom on Thursday. Photo: GROUPUSCULE VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

Baltimore City students returned to the classrooms Thursday, after a winter break extended by administrators to test staff for COVID amid the omicron surge. School officials have announced new mitigation strategies that some students, parents and teachers say aren’t strong enough.

School administrators and their allies had a press conference of their own Monday, where CEO Sonja Santelises said the system will bolster testing efforts. All staff will now be subject to regular testing, not just unvaccinated workers, and parents will have new ways to submit testing consent forms for their children.

The Baltimore Teachers Union has called for tighter prevention strategies, including testing for every student and staff member and to have all school buildings’ ventilation systems examined and updated if necessary. Before winter break, union president Diamonté Brown requested that students spend the first week of the semester in asynchronous instruction, while opening school buildings to administer PCR tests and distribute at-home testing kits to families.

Read more (and listen) at WYPR.

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