Baltimore City Public Schools will soon open 15 of its elementary schools for students to learn online in small groups, as the system prepares to start the school year virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The partnership between the school system and Baltimore City Recreation and Parks will allow 1,000 students to access their remote lessons in locations throughout the city beginning Sept. 28.
These new Student Learning Centers will serve children who don’t have internet at home or are less likely to be able to access classes online, giving them a space to learn in groups of 10 to 15 under the supervision of a proctor. The centers will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“As we learned in the spring, the transition from a traditional classroom to a virtual learning environment can create challenges for some of our most vulnerable students – including those without ready access to, or familiarity with technology, internet, and other resources,” said Sonja Santelises, CEO of the city schools in a statement.
Similar programs have been set up in Harford and Baltimore counties.
The students will complete their regular school day through a computer just as most students will do at home. They will also have recreational activities.
Students will have to follow social distancing guidelines, and health screenings will be mandatory.
Parents may apply for a space for their child between now and Sept. 9 at www.baltimorecityschools.org/SLCfall2020 or by calling the Student Learning Centers hotline at 443-984-2001.
The centers will be open in the following schools: William Paca Elementary, Waverly Elementary/Middle, Dorothy I. Height Elementary, Elmer A. Henderson Elementary/Middle, Wildwood Elementary/Middle, Mary E. Rodman Elementary, Sinclair Lane Elementary, Pimlico Elementary, Sandtown-Winchester Elementary/Middle, Farring Bay-Brook Recreation Center, Lakeland Recreation and STEAM Center, John Ruhrah Elementary Middle, Beechfield Elementary/Middle and Baltimore International Academy East.
The centers were selected based on a variety of factors, including whether they had air conditioning and outdoor space. Each center will provide students and staff with masks and other protective equipment.