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Baltimore City Public Schools Officials Weigh Learning Options For Students For Upcoming Academic Year

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- School officials are weighing how they want to proceed with the upcoming school year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"As of now, the start date remains the same," Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonia Santelises said.

Baltimore City's first day of school is scheduled for Aug. 31. Dr. Santelises says the district wants to give families two choices. The first, all virtual for families who are not comfortable with in-person learning. The second, a hybrid model where students go to school twice a week.


"It would permit us to be able to really reduce the concentration of a certain space," Dr. Santelises said.

City Schools held a virtual townhall Thursday to address questions. Another is planned July 16.

"When you think about hybrid, you think about less students in a class to consider just to make sure we're taking all health considerations into effect," Chief of Schools John Davis said.

School districts have until August 14 to give their plans to the state, as laid out by the Education Department's recovery plan.

"We really want to get back to families sooner than that," Dr. Santelises said.

Santelises said she hopes Baltimore City Schools' plan is finalized by the end of July.

Current CDC guidelines encourage the use of cloth face coverings, social distancing, staggered scheduling and no communal space, guidelines President Trump says are too tough and expensive.

Gov. Hogan told CNN he was confused by the president's criticism.

"I'm not sure what it was the president didn't like about it or why he was lashing out about his own administration's report, but I'm glad to hear they're not going to change the guidelines," the governor said.

Harford County Public Schools laid out a preliminary plan Thursday which would follow the governor's Roadmap to Recovery Plan, working its way back to in-person learning.

"State and local school boards are the ones that are going to make these decisions and we want to get kids back to school as early as possible, but we only want to do it in a safe way," Gov. Hogan said.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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