Dr Sonja Santelises says priorities have shifted for BCPS during coronavirus pandemic

April 03, 2020 | WNST Audio

Nestor and Don Mohler caught up with Dr. Sonja Santelises, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, as she took them behind the curtain as she attempts to navigate the school system through this pandemic.

Much like it has through all aspects of society, this pandemic rapidly escalated through the school system.

“We are doing what a lot of people are doing,” Santelises said. “We are forecasting based on scenario and ever-changing information. But, I will say, when you’re in education you very quickly have to focus in on what are the main priorities. Immediately, we knew with our student population, that we were going to be shifting from keeping buildings clean – and we had those protocols in place – but that quickly shifted. Our priorities very quickly became making sure our young people got fed, as a lot of our families and students rely on schools for feeding.”

While Dr. Santelises acknowledges that students being at home is much different than being in a classroom, she is focused on maintaining a continuity of learning

“We knew that school would not be the same as being at home, but the approach that we’re taking is that there are two pieces,” Santelises said. “Continuity of learning now, meaning we’re not treating this as just lost time, we are going to do what we can to support families and students, but we also know very realistically that we are going to need some type of an educational recovery plan. For a lot of our young people, we know that this is a particularly difficult time, and we will need to fill some of the gaps that are not only being created but further exasperated because of this pandemic that we’re all living through.”

Nestor, Don, and Dr. Santelises had a very long chat about so many interesting and crucial topics as we all try to adjust to this new normal. To hear their full conversation, listen here: