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‘We have to ensure everyone in the building is safe’: Robert Moton Elementary in Westminster featured in MSDE reopening video

Carroll County Public Schools’ in-person learning efforts were filmed and broadcast by the state.

Robert Moton Elementary School and its mitigation practices were featured in a video by the Maryland State Department of Education that was linked to MSDE’s Tuesday news release.

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MSDE released a statement Feb. 23 saying the department continues to provide support for safe and effective school openings. It cites its recovery plan and the $1.2 billion in emergency education funding to help with connectivity, materials and supplies for reopening.

“MSDE, in collaboration with local school systems, has redefined education by providing research-driven guidance, funding, personal protective equipment, a first-term school year 20-21 performance dashboard, learning-loss recovery strategies and Covid-19 testing in schools,” the release states.

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It also linked to a video that shows in-person learning at Robert Moton Elementary in Westminster and Walter P. Carter Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore City. It shows a bus pulling up to the Westminster school and Principal Darryl Robbins greeting students as they enter the building.

Robbins said in an interview that MSDE filmed at Robert Moton on Jan. 21. He added later that he was not sure why Robert Moton was picked to be featured in the video but in his 10 years at the school, they have been “selected for a lot of things.”

“I think anything in our school, in terms of following the plan we have in place, is something I was happy to share,” he said.

The narrator of the video explained how principals partner with staff to practice safety measures.

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“As a principal that’s our first job,” Robbins said in the video. “We have to ensure everyone in the building is safe.”

The video went on to show students picking up their breakfast and signage to remind students to wear masks. Students were seen eating meals in the classroom and stickers were on the ground to remind students to social distance. Robbins showed how the cafeteria was redesigned to have one-way traffic and tables and chairs on the stage were .

Kristi Bozzell, the school nurse, explained in the video there are hand sanitizers in every classroom and air purifiers throughout the school.

“I believe that we should be in school,” Kristy Groomes, a fourth grade STEM teacher at Robert Moton, said. “I believe there have been plenty of procedures put into place.”

The video went on to show the mitigation efforts at the Baltimore City school and interviewed staff and a parent to say they approve.

“Throughout Maryland, we are working to open all schools once again,” the narrator said at the end.

Carroll’s Board of Education voted Feb. 10 to allow students to attend in-person learning at least four days a week by March 22. The board was scheduled to meet Wednesday night, Feb. 24 to discuss its new reopening plan.

“I think we will all be listening very closely tonight to find out what direction the board will provide,” Robbins said Wednesday morning, adding that he looks forward to getting the guidance from the board.

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