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Update Center

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Diya Slayton

Elementary School Principal | The Belair-Edison School

Tiffany Halsey

Middle School Principal | The Belair-Edison School

Tiffany Halsey, the principal of Afya Public Charter School, believes that a highly eff...

Sheila Adams

Principal | Tunbridge Public Charter School

Sheila Adams, principal of Tunbridge Public Charter School, is driven by the belief tha...

January 14, 2021

Reopening of Schools

Dear Families,

City Schools just announced its plans for reopening traditional schools for some students (K-5th, 9th, and 12th). Initially, they will open in two phases, one beginning on February 16th and the other beginning on March 1st. The Belair-Edison School and Tunbridge Public Charter School will reopen in the district’s phase two, beginning on March 1st. Our decision to reopen was made with input and guidance from City Schools, from our principals, and from the Afya Baltimore governing board and staff. 

City Schools made us aware of this reopening decision very recently, and we believe we need additional time to effectively communicate with our school communities and to plan and prepare for the reopening of our schools. Therefore, we have chosen to begin our reopening on March 1st, rather than February 16th. 

Several factors have informed this decision to reopen our schools. First and foremost, we have a high degree of confidence that we can open our schools for this group of our students and staff by March 1st in a way that is safe for everyone. We will be specifically outlining these safety plans over the coming days and weeks. The plans will adhere to CDC and district guidelines for safely reopening schools. Our schools will be ready to open, and they will be safe. 

On March 1st, we will open our doors to students in grades K - 2nd and on March 15th to students in grades 3rd - 5th. We can safely accommodate in-person learning for approximately 60% of students in these grade bands. Your family has two options. You many opt in to in-person learning four days per week or remain 100% virtual. For families who choose to remain 100% virtual there may need to be changes to their virtual learning day. Wednesdays will remain fully virtual for all students.

At this time, the district has not announced plans for bringing back students in grades 6th - 8th for in-person learning, though we believe this will be reviewed in March. Our schools will adhere to the district timeline for middle school grades. 

The decision to begin to reopen schools is also about the health and safety of our students and the impact virtual learning has had on them academically and socially/emotionally. We know many of our students are struggling. Tuesday’s Baltimore Sun article about reopening said, “For students in second grade through fifth grade, 55% failed at least one class compared with 30% in 2019. Nearly two in five students in primary grades had failed a subject. Most alarming, [Dr. Santelises] said, was that 68% of ninth graders failed a class.” 

We believe our schools have done an excellent job with our virtual learning programming. But we also know that our students are not engaging at high enough rates, are not attending often enough, and in many cases are truly struggling to keep up academically. The social/emotional impact is clear in the student survey results from prior to Winter Break. Across the three ABI campuses, 628 students in 3rd - 8th grade completed the survey with the following results:

  • 40 percent of students felt frustrated frequently or almost always.
  • 47 percent of students said going to school online feels hard.
  • 25 percent of students said going to school online feels “like a way I do not learn well.”
  • 85 percent of students miss school a lot or sometimes. (54 percent miss it a lot). 
  • 45 percent of students who miss school miss being with their friends the most. 

Over the days and weeks ahead, our principals will be regularly communicating with families with specific details about reopening. We will release an FAQ early next week with the most commonly asked questions and concerns to help with your decision making. We realize this is a challenging decision for our families. 

The FAQ will address, as best we can:

  • What the in-person school day will be like.
  • How the virtual school day will be impacted for those choosing to remain at home.
  • Our process for assigning seats for in-person learning should the interest in seats outnumber our ability to accommodate them. 

The district will hold a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, January 21st to further inform families. The first and most important piece of information we need from our families is which of you will send your  K - 5th grade children back to school, in person, on March 1st (K - 2nd) and March 15th (3rd - 5th). Please click on this link to take a brief survey which will inform our planning. Survey responses are due by Friday, January 22nd. Our principals will hold additional sessions the first week of February, after we process the results of the survey.

In every way, the last year has been full of turmoil. The social, political, and economic unrest has been relentless and unforgiving. Through it all, day after day, the pandemic has weighed down upon us, sickened us, killed hundreds of thousands, including some of our loved ones, isolated us, divided us. Slowly, surely, steadily we are beginning to emerge from all of this. Partially reopening our schools, in March, is but one small step in the work that our country and our community must take. We are looking forward to it. 


Will McKenna
Executive Director

Jeanine Hildreth
Board President

Sheila Adams
Principal, Tunbridge Public Charter School      

Tiffany Halsey
Middle School Principal, The Belair-Edison School      

Diya Slayton
Elementary School Principal, The Belair-Edison School



November 23, 2020

School Buildings Closed 11/30/20 - 12/4/20

Dear families, 

Please see the message below from Baltimore City Public Schools. In line with this message, the CDC, and Maryland State Department of Health recommendations, we will also be taking extra precautions after the Thanksgiving holiday to ensure our staff remains safe. Our buildings will be closed to the public from Monday, Nov. 30th through Friday, Dec. 4th. Staff will be available to assist students and families as needed either by phone or via Zoom. Please contact your school and leave a message if you need assistance.


Dear City Schools community, 

Thank you for supporting student learning, both virtually and at more than 40 sites across Baltimore City. It has been wonderful to see students’ joyful return to school and hear from families and staff how important in-person learning is to so many students. 

As we all look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday, we know that, for some, the holiday may include travel for family and social gatherings. These gatherings pose transmission risks for students, families, and staff. Because of that risk, City Schools will briefly pause all in-person student learning programs and meal sites the week after Thanksgiving - Monday, November 30 through Friday, December 4. 

During that time, all students will participate in virtual learning. The district office will remain open. However, the Multilingual Enrollment and Support Center and Enrollment, Choice, and Transfer offices will only be supporting families virtually. 

In-person learning and meal sites will reopen on Monday, December 7. 

This step is safe, responsible, and prudent given the circumstances regarding COVID-19 and gatherings that may occur during Thanksgiving weekend. Caution is required, and this brief pause in in-person learning reflects the recommendations of health officials. We know the holidays are typically a time to gather with family and friends, but we encourage you to follow the recommendations of public health experts for this Thanksgiving holiday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland State Department of Health have provided guidelines for celebrating the holidays safely. 

Again, all students will participate in virtual learning ONLY during the week of November 30. We look forward to resuming all in-person learning and meal sites on Monday, December 7. Please visit the City Schools website - – and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@baltcityschools) for updates.

Please be safe and take care.

October 5, 2020

Internet Safety Message

Internet usage is regulated by federal and state governments. The law that most impacts schools is called the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). CIPA was enacted by Congress in 2000 to address concerns about children’s access to obscene or harmful content over the internet. CIPA imposes certain requirements on schools and libraries. 

In our school buildings at Tunbridge and The Belair-Edison School, we provide internet access to students and staff in a number of ways. In each case, a filter is in place to manage usage, ensure safety, and comply with CIPA while on our networks.

In late August of this school year, our schools began distributing new computers to families so students could better access virtual learning. A software program called GoGuardian is installed on each of these new devices. This software allows Afya Baltimore Inc. (ABI), as the operator of our schools, to remotely manage the safety and security of the computer. GoGuardian also allows us to filter and control internet usage, which puts us in compliance with CIPA requirements and ensures that students have a safe experience online. In cases where someone tries to access information via this computer that is inappropriate or unsafe, the filter will block access. Staff at the school will be notified. Families, in turn, will be notified of this occurrence.
It is likely that some families were given older devices this past spring and summer that are not yet protected by GoGuardian. In some cases this occurred in the rush to get families computers so they could access virtual learning or before we had this protocol in place. In the coming weeks, we will be transitioning these old computers to management under our GoGuardian system. This transition will take place remotely, but it will initially change how students access their online work. Support staff at each campus will be available to help with this transition.

We encourage families that are using personal devices not distributed by our schools to install similar protections or carefully monitor their child's internet usage to ensure safety.

Practicing safe usage on the internet is a life skill. In our schools, we are teaching students about how to be a good citizen in the digital world. The GoGuardian management system assists our school community in this work. But nothing is better than parents and guardians having conversations with their children about the importance of being safe while online or using social media. In the coming weeks, we'll provide additional information to families so they are better informed in this area. 

Will McKenna
Executive Director 
Afya Baltimore Inc. (ABI)

September 11, 2020

ABI Schools Response to Zoom Interruptions

Dear ABI Schools Families, 

First, I would like to thank all of you for your hardwork and determination this week to participate in our virtual learning program. I know how hard this is. I'm working virtually from home. My children are in online Zoom classrooms. My wife is teaching in an online Zoom classroom. All this under one roof! It's not easy. All Zooming, all the time, as I wrote about here in my Welcome Message for the 2020 school year. I'm hearing very encouraging things from teachers, school leaders and families about how much good, positive classroom instruction is occurring, along with important social emotional connections.

Over the next several weeks, we will continue with our number one priority which is to ensure that all of our students have a quality computer or tablet, access to the internet, and the necessary skills to navigate our online platforms. We've made great progress in this area over the past several months. We still have work to do. I have absolute confidence that we will reach our goals by the end of the month. Our principals and teachers are 100 percent committed to making sure this happens. 

One of the biggest challenges I'm aware of is security related to Zoom meetings, specifically intrusion into virtual classrooms by those who should not be admitted. One such incident occurred yesterday at The Belair-Edison School | Brehms Campus. Our staff responded quickly and appropriately. Still, such interruptions are unsettling and disturbing. 

We worked with City Schools to purchase our licensing for Zoom Education. We are now working closely with the school district to put additional preventative measures in place to limit, and hopefully, eliminate unwanted intrusions. Of course these incidents are not unique to Tunbridge or to The Belair-Edison School. They are happening around the city and country. Our students are our highest priority, however, and so rest assured that our teachers and school leaders will do everything possible to support students and families in these challenging times. In some cases, there will be changes made to how students access learning platforms to make them more secure. Principals and teachers will communicate these changes directly to students and families. At first, these changes may complicate some things. Our goal, however, is to make virtual learning safer for everyone involved. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me directly, by email

I'd like to conclude with this thought: I read a headline the other day that said schools can't just will their way to success with online learning, meaning that no matter how much we strive to solve the technical hurdles in front of us, we'll still be left with the enormous, perhaps even impossible, challenge of overcoming the social and emotional impacts of the distance and isolation inherent with virtual programming. This is a valid point. And yet our reality is a virtual reality so we have to continue to do the very best we can, even if it is not quite enough. Normal will return one day at a time.  

Will McKenna
Founder and Executive Director
Afya Baltimore Inc. (ABI) 

September 2, 2020

ABI Schools Device Distribution Update

Baltimore City Public Schools announced yesterday that they are receiving laptops later than expected. ABI Schools (Tunbridge and The Belair-Edison School) ordered many of its computers through the procurement system used by City Schools; therefore, the arrival of many of our new computers will also be delayed.

When deliveries of computers come into our schools and are ready for distribution to families in need, we will notify our school community right away. We will do this through email and through updates on our website and Facebook pages. 

If your child needs a laptop but does not receive one before the first day of school, which is Tuesday, September 8th, there will be no penalties for lessons students are unable to complete or for missed attendance. City Schools expects students and families to notify their school each day they are without a laptop so our records are updated, students are credited and students receive a laptop as soon as one becomes available. This is the expectation for Tunbridge and The Belair-Edison School, too. 

Please contact your child’s school with additional questions. 


May 15, 2020

School Building Closure Extended Through End of the School Year

May 15, 2020

Dear Families, 

As you now know, the State of Maryland has extended the closure period for public school buildings for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. During this time, our students will continue with remote learning. The district has applied to MSDE for a waiver to change the last day of school from June 22, 2020 to June 15, 2020. Stay tuned to communications from City Schools as well as your principal about the last day of school.

We are overwhelmed by the generosity of our families and community in support of the ABI Schools Family Emergency Fund! Phase I of this fund enables us to provide grocery staples once per week for 10 weeks to 30 families in need across our schools, safely delivered by members of our staff. We have begun to plan for Phase II, which will allow us to add additional hygiene and cleaning supply necessities to our weekly deliveries. Together we will continue to help each other through this challenging time. If you or a family you know at Tunbridge or The Belair-Edison School is in need of support, please reach out to your principal. 

Summer Camps will take place at Tunbridge, BE Brehms and BE Brendan in either a hybrid of online and in-person or strictly online capacity, depending on COVID-19 pandemic guidance we receive from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and the Maryland State Department of Education. Programs will be free of charge for all families at all campuses. Principals will be communicating details via Friday Letters and email as we build our new Summer Camp offerings.

Please continue to check our website, Facebook pages, and your email for important information from principals.

Will McKenna
Founder and Executive Director

April 23, 2020

School Closure Extended Through May 15, 2020

Dear Families,

The State of Maryland extended the closure period for public school buildings through May 15, 2020. During this time, students at The Belair-Edison School and Tunbridge Public Charter School will continue with distance-based learning, including packets and online instruction. Principals and teachers continue to communicate with families daily about access to food and concerns related to technology. Helpful resources are available on our Remote Learning Center page and our ABI Schools Remote Learning YouTube Channel.

Meals: The district continues to provide grab-and-go meals at sites around the city, with additional locations added this week. 

District Packets: Hard copies available at meal sites for those unable to access technology and/or our school specific instruction.

We will continue to provide updates as we learn more. Please continue to check the ABI website and the City Schools website, as well as your email and our Facebook pages: ABI, BE Elementary, BE Middle, Tunbridge.

Will McKenna
Founder and Executive Director

March 25, 2020

School Closure Extended Through April 24, 2020

Dear families, 

The Maryland State Department of Education announced that public school closure will be extended through Friday, April 24. We will be ramping up our efforts to provide remote learning opportunities for students at Tunbridge and The Belair-Edison School next week. Please continue to check the ABI website and the City Schools website for updates.

Will McKenna
Founder and Executive Director

March 21, 2020

Spring Break & Video from Mr. Morgan

Dear families, 

Our schools are on Spring Break through March 27th. Late next week, we will communicate out to families with updated next steps we will be taking with remote learning for students, should this be necessary. All of our buildings— both campuses of The Belair-Edison School and Tunbridge— are closed and continue to be deep-cleaned by our maintenance crew. 

Any family that was not able to pick up a remote learning packet can access them here on our website in PDF format to be downloaded and printed at home (see links below).

We have launched a new Vimeo channel to support us during this phase of remote learning. Check out our first video: Couch Workout with Mr. Morgan. Mike Morgan is a founder of our organization, as well as the Health & Wellness Director and Middle School PE Teacher at The Belair-Edison School. He, along with other staff members from across our organization, will periodically provide videos for our families as we all work to support our physical and social/emotional health during this challenging time.

These videos will also be available soon on YouTube, our website, and our social media channels.

Have a restful Spring Break.

Will McKenna
Founder and Executive Director

March 17, 2020

Remote Learning Work Packets

Dear families,

As we begin the first week of school closure due to COVID-19, we know our students, parents, and guardians have had their routines disrupted, many plans cancelled— including events that our students were really looking forward to and deserved— and are feeling the stress of this very serious situation. In our schools, as you know, we teach children to live healthy, balanced lives; what we call The Afya Way. In times like this, it’s especially important to take care of our social/emotional and physical health, in addition to our intellectual health and having our kids complete work packets.

We care about our students and their families, we want to do right by our kids through these challenging times, and we strive— as we always do— for balance. ABI, along with staff from The Belair-Edison School and Tunbridge, have created grade-level learning packets (approx. five days of work) that align well to what our students have been doing in the classroom. These packets are a small way to stay connected to the learning that will keep students on the path they’ve been working so hard on and to their classroom community.

Packets from Pre-K to 8th grade level are available:

  • In PDF form (to print at home) here on our website (see links below)
  • In hard copy form to pickup at our three school buildings on Wednesday 3/18 and Thursday 3/19 from 9am-3pm

ABI Schools Packet Goals: Our goal for the activities we’ve put together in these packets is to provide opportunities for our students to both keep engaged in relevant grade level work and keep their intellectual muscles sharp. Students of all ages thrive on routine. We encourage families to use this resource as a tool to give students consistent experiences reading, writing, counting, and problem-solving.

ABI Schools Packet Grading: We will follow guidance provided by the school system with respect to grading: the work will be considered voluntary instructional activity for students, not graded work.

City Schools Packet: The district has also created a grade-level packet. This packet may not align exactly with what our students are doing in the classroom, but families are welcome to download and print this packet from the district website.

Please check the ABI website and school social media pages during this extended break for suggestions on how to take care of yourself and your student intellectually, socially/emotionally, and physically.

Thank you and please reach out to me or your school principal with any questions.

Will McKenna
Founder and Executive Director

Remote Learning Work Packet Links (PDFs to print at home):
PreK Work Packet | Tunbridge and The Belair-Edison School
K Work Packet | Tunbridge and The Belair-Edison School
1st Grade Work Packet | Tunbridge and The Belair-Edison School
2nd Grade Work Packet | Tunbridge and The Belair-Edison School
3rd Grade Work Packet | Tunbridge and The Belair-Edison School
4th Grade Work Packet | Tunbridge and The Belair-Edison School
5th Grade Work Packet | Tunbridge and The Belair-Edison School
6th Grade Work Packet | Tunbridge
6th Grade Work Packet | The Belair-Edison School
7th Grade Work Packet | Tunbridge
7th Grade Work Packet | The Belair-Edison School
8th Grade Work Packet | Tunbridge
8th Grade Work Packet | The Belair-Edison School

To our families of students with disabilities: 
It is always our goal to provide rigorous grade level instruction to our students. Here are some resources and tools that will help your student access the grade level packets. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your school or your child’s teacher for additional guidance and support.
Students With Disabilities Resources ELA Upper grades (4-8) | Tunbridge and The Belair-Edison School
Students With Disabilities Resources Math Upper grades (4-8) | Tunbridge and The Belair-Edison School

Safety is our priority!

Student and staff safety is our top priority. If you have a question, concern or comment about any health or safety issue, please reach out to your school principal.

Additional resources

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention