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Running Up That Hill

The alarm clock rings again. Oh no, class starts in two minutes! You rush out of bed, put on your school uni—wait no. You grab the closest spongebob tank top, snatch a piece of toast, and get your backp—wait no. You run out the doo—wait no. Ughhh what the heck is this. You slide down the hallway in your socks, sprint to your desk, throw open your computer, and click the link. Just in time baby!

For most students at City, this scene isn’t unfamiliar. Believe it or not, the depicted scenario’s greatest inaccuracy isn’t the supposition that a conscientious human being would ever wear a spongebob tank top, but rather that students still have the instinct to put on a school uniform, grab their backpack, or leave the house to go to school. The one year anniversary of Baltimore City Public Schools’ last day of widespread in-person learning is quickly approaching, but it seems that BCPS isn’t looking to celebrate it.

On January 14th, BCPS announced that it would begin optional in person learning for some grades. Kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders would go back Tuesday, February 16th, while third, fourth, fifth, ninth, and twelfth graders would go back Monday, March 1st. However, BCPS delayed reopening dates to allow further planning, communicating, and vaccinating and made an announcement on February 3rd: grades K-2 would start March 1st, followed by grades 3-5 and 9 on March 15th, and lastly grade 12 on April 12th. Since March 12th 2020 was the last day of fully available in person learning, these plans would cap the number of consecutive days without it to an impressive 353.

Five days following BCPS’s first announcement about in person learning, Principal Harcum delineated the City’s own vision of what in person learning will look like. She emphasized that under the current plan, in person learning will not look like school prior to the pandemic. She explained how students attending school in person will be grouped into learning pods and do their virtual learning together on computers at school. Each learning pod will stay in the same room all day and have a teacher or proctor oversee them. She noted that the in person learning plan will give students access to assistance with logging in and submitting assignments, but also noted that services such as the library, club activities, tutoring, and counseling will all remain virtual.

Just like virtual learning, plans to return in person have been met with mixed feelings. While some teachers believe they should be required to go back, many don’t. While some students will choose to go back, many won’t. Luckily for City students, whether you are a fan of doing school in a spongebob tank top, or you’re yearning to dust off that school uniform, the choice will soon be yours.

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