Baltimore County Public Schools fully reopened Monday morning with in-person learning five days a week for the first time in more than a year, but will continue to offer virtual learning instruction to students, under a plan announced in May.
County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. joined BCPS Superintendent Darryl Williams to visit students and educators on the first full day, making stops at Loch Raven High School, Cockeysville Middle School, Scotts Branch Elementary School and Catonsville Elementary School.
“The first day is always exciting but I think it’s especially exciting seeing so many of our young people back after a difficult year and a half because of COVID, but we’re thrilled to be partnering with Dr. Williams and the entire BCPS team to make sure that our kids and our team members are safe so that we’re and back where we belong … in the classroom,” Olszewski said.
Online and in-person instruction are both full semester options for students at all grade levels for the 2021-22 school year, with virtual learning being similar to what most students experienced in fall of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the region.
Since a number of families have chosen to continue with online schooling, system leaders are working on alternative learning models, Williams said.
“We increased our spaces for our virtual learning program,” Williams said. “Based on what’s happening in our world today, we want to have as many options to keep learning happening so that’s one venue where we saw some growth.”
Olszewski and Williams both expressed excitement and confidence in bringing students back to the classroom safely for in-person instruction, noting exposure and close contact protocols and masks being required in indoor settings.
The county executive said Williams and his team made the right call requiring masking in school buildings because it will significantly reduce spread and minimize quarantining.