BPS pushes school start date to Sept. 21

Walsh: Changes being made in schools for when students return

BOSTON — Boston Public Schools won’t start this upcoming school year until Sept. 21, according to new guidance revealed Wednesday night at the Boston City Council Committee on Education meeting.

Families of roughly 53,000 Boston Public School children have been waiting for a decision on how the fall semester will be handled and the start date has now been pushed back by 11 days.

The state education commissioner’s waiver to shorten the school year allowed the city to make the decision.

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The start to the school year will be either Hybrid or Remote, according to BPS Superintendent Brenda Casselius. She says the extra time allowed by the commissioner will let the district take time to look at the numbers. Parents will always have the choice to have remote only education.

At a news conference at City Hall earlier this week, Mayor Marty Walsh said two models are being considered, one remote, and one in which students would attend in-person for two days with remote learning for the other three days.

The mayor announced some efforts to prepare school buildings for a possible return of students including buying nearly 5,000 plexiglass separators, preparing isolation spaces, buying filters for ventilation systems and adding sanitization stations at schools. Districts are supposed to submit comprehensive plans to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education by Friday, but Boston will not reach that deadline, Walsh said.

Mayor Walsh said another major concern of his has to do with the achievement gap for students particularly Black and Latino students, and those with special needs as well as English learners.

He said schools are grappling with two health issues, the COVID-19 pandemic, and race and equity problems.

In June, Walsh declared racism a public health crisis and reallocated $3 million for the new budget from the police overtime budget to the Boston Public Health Commission.

Walsh says the city is working to upgrade technology and ensure students learning from home are able to connect to the internet for lessons.

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