As a Baltimore City Public School, the William S. Baer School will be following the guidelines set by Baltimore City for reopening and starting the 2020-2021 school year via virtual instruction.
We've included some important updates below. For detailed information, please visit the Baltimore City Public Schools Website at www.baltimorecityschools.org.
From Baltimore City Public Schools
October 14, 2020
Update on in-person learning opportunities:
Dear City Schools Families,
As I promised when we announced our decision to open schools in a 100 percent virtual environment in July, I am pleased to provide this update on our plans for in-person learning for the remainder of this semester.
Our staff has done an incredible job standing up virtual learning for our students. I have enjoyed visiting many virtual classrooms where staff provides engaging and rigorous learning opportunities for our students. Teachers and school leaders have worked hard to develop their skills in delivering high-quality virtual instruction, and it shows in what I see when I enter classrooms and what I hear when I speak with parents or students. While I’m very pleased with the virtual learning experiences we offer families, we also know that virtual learning is not working well for all our students and families.
Given that City Schools has increasingly provided in-person learning opportunities for small groups of students. During the summer, we offered in-person learning opportunities for about 200 summer school students. During the fall, we’ve opened Student Learning Centers, where students can safely access their virtual learning and sites offering in-person instruction to some of our special education students and English language learners. Through these opportunities, I’ve seen family members dropping their children off so they could go to their much-needed jobs without worrying about their children and students receiving critical instruction to support their learning. I’ve also seen that we can provide in-person opportunities safely and in alignment with health protocols.
The majority of students will continue virtual learning in November and through the rest of this semester. At the same time, we will offer in-person opportunities to more groups of prioritized students at 25 schools that have demonstrated readiness for hosting these opportunities. Families will choose whether to participate in these opportunities or continue virtual learning for the rest of the semester. Over the next few weeks, principals at host sites will connect with families via phone calls, emails, meetings, or other means to determine their interests and develop their school plans.
While we will continue to offer virtual learning for families who want to remain virtual, we will be looking to expand in-person learning opportunities at all schools for additional groups of students who choose to be in-person at the start of the second semester.
At City Schools, our students benefit most when they are in the classroom with teachers who care about them. That is particularly true for high-needs groups like early or young learners, students with disabilities, English learners, homeless students, and students who cannot participate consistently in virtual classes for various reasons. And there are other groups like our CTE students who cannot get the hands-on learning they need outside of the classroom. For these reasons, we will make additional in-person opportunities available to more families who want them.
The health and safety of our students and staff are paramount. We have been working closely with the Baltimore City Health Department and our Health Advisory Committee to ensure that we adhere to approved health and safety guidelines at every site, every day. Health and safety measures include mandatory face masks for staff and students, daily health screening and temperature checks, daily cleaning and disinfecting, and small class sizes to facilitate social distancing. These practices will continue as we expand in-person learning.
City Schools will continue to provide ways for you to give input on virtual learning and small in-person learning opportunities. Look for a district survey in November so you may provide feedback. Visit our website and social media channels often for town halls, polls, and surveys. Also, you may send your feedback via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please join us for a special town hall on Thursday, October 15, at 5:45 p.m. on the district’s social media channels – Twitter, Facebook, and City Schools TV – to learn more about our plan for the next steps in in-person learning and get answers to your questions.
There will be challenges, but I am confident that this is the next step in preparing more of our students to succeed and thrive. Thank you for everything you do every day.
From Baltimore City Public Schools
August 27, 2020
Baltimore City Public Schools is sharing this update with its community in response to comments by Maryland Gov. and State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon on August 27, 2020.
City Schools believes in-person teaching and learning is best for our students. We share Gov. Hogan's desire to reopen schools fully, by taking steps gradually as health and safety conditions permit. In alignment with that vision, City Schools will continue to explore the best ways locally to do that while protecting those at the heart of our mission - our students, families, and staff.
City Schools will open the 2020-2021 school year virtually on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. The district remains committed to reevaluating the possibility of adding a hybrid learning option by October 16, 2020. During this period, the district will include some in-person supports for small groups of students while continuing to monitor input from the Maryland State Department of Education.
We urge all City Schools students, families, staff, and community members to stay connected and informed about our progress through our website, social media channels, and updates via phone call and email.
Letter From Baltimore City Public Schools
July 20, 2020
Greetings City Schools students, families, and friends,
The past four months have been unlike anything we have experienced before in Baltimore City Public Schools. We closed school buildings to slow the spread of a global pandemic, and the heavy use of online learning and video contact with teachers forced each of us to adjust in ways we never dreamed. I am grateful for all your support and willingness to fight alongside us to make sure each student has an opportunity to continue their learning.
I know you have been eager for answers about what your child’s routines will look like once school begins in just a few weeks. As both the mother of City Schools students and a life-long educator, I know how important it is that students and teachers safely return to school buildings this fall. Schools are unique and dynamic places that are critical to the growth and development of our children.
All schools in the district will open the 2020-2021 school year virtually, delaying the start of the hybrid in-person option until later this fall. Providing a hybrid learning option remains our goal. However, feedback in the surveys, polls, and virtual town halls made clear that while many families are interested in an in-person option, there is also discomfort among students and families with moving directly to reopening in August.
Also, the calendar for students may change. I am proposing to the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners that the first day of school for students is Tuesday, Sept. 8, following the Labor Day weekend, to allow additional time before the start of the school year for professional learning for staff. This change would require approval by the Board, so this decision is not yet final.
We will assess the need to bring in small groups of students, as necessary, during the virtual learning period this fall.
City Schools strongly believes some form of in-person learning is critical for a student’s academic success, mental health, and emotional well-being. However, we do not want to rush to act based on your recent feedback as well as health trends in our community and nationally. This moment is a vital time, and preparation for students and families is important. We will keep you updated about what a hybrid in-person learning experience could look like and the health safeguards that would be in place.
Please rest assured that when it is time to transition to a hybrid in-person learning option, there will be a comprehensive and thorough plan to return in place as well as opportunities to orient families and students to what safe in-person learning could look like for their student. As a parent, that is what I would expect to occur, and that is what our students deserve.
Please continue to listen to our phone messages, read our emails, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, visit www.baltimorecityschools.org, and work directly with your schools over the next few weeks to learn how you can prepare for the online-learning launch. We also are sharing very important information about how you may receive meals, internet access, and computers. If your student attends a charter school, some of your options for help may be different; contact your school directly for more information.
And we want to continue to hear from you. Stay tuned for updates about our Family Virtual Town Halls, surveys, polls, and more at
The 2020-21 school year will be different for everyone, and we must be prepared to adjust and respond as needed at any given moment. We know we are asking more of you than ever before. But with your cooperation and shared sacrifice, together, we will help our children thrive.
Together with you,
Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises
Chief Executive Officer
Baltimore City Public Schools