Parents rally outside State House to bring kids back to school in person

Parents rally outside State House to bring kids back to school in person

BOSTON — Dozens of people rallied outside the State House Wednesday, pushing for the state to allow their kids to go back to school in person this fall.

“They learn in person, they don’t learn from a computer or videos and also for their social emotional well being and also their mental health,” said Antigone Grasso, who lives in Westwood.

Grasso and many other parents who attended the rally live in towns with low risk for COVID-19 transmission.

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“You know we did our job this far to get to ‘green’ and we’d like to go back in,” said Beth Whitten, who lives in Marblehead.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released new guidelines Wednesday based on the new state map, which shows the risk level for COVID-19 in each town.

DESE encourages school districts in the unshaded or green areas to go back to school in person or in a hybrid model, while districts in the yellow, or moderate risk areas, should start with a hybrid or remote system.

The state recommends towns that fall under red, or high risk, should keep schools in remote learning for now.

“The guidance is helpful, but it would’ve been a lot more helpful had we had it several weeks ago, so I saw minimal effect right now,” said Thomas Scott, Executive Director for the Massachusetts Superintendent Association.

Scott says most school districts have already decided on their reopening plans, so it’ll be tough to try to follow these new state guidelines if they’re not required.

“Because right now I think a lot of the superintendents are feeling bewildered by the fact that you have such inflicting points of view in our communities,” said Scott. “So not having something that is more specific and directive I think puts them in a very untenable place.”

Not having concrete specifics on reopening is why parents rallied at the State House Wednesday.

They’re hoping the governor will decide which towns can go back to in-person learning full time instead of leaving it up to each town.

“It needs to be very clear because otherwise there’s no end game and we don’t know when we will ever get back into classroom full time,” said Grasso.

Schools adjust reopening plans as new state data on hotspots, guidelines released