Boston schools, teachers union strike safety deal to return high-needs students to classroom

BOSTON — Four Boston schools will move forward with plans to reopen to high-needs students Monday after the district and teachers' union struck a deal on safety policies over the weekend.

Boston Public Schools and the Boston Teachers Union jointly announced the agreement Sunday. Hundreds of high-needs students can now return to in-person learning at the Carter School, Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, McKinley Schools and the Henderson Inclusion School.

Key areas of agreement include making weekly COVID-19 testing available for teachers, guaranteeing that the district maintains a 60-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), and setting air quality and filtration standards for the classrooms, among other previous points of contention and negotiation.

“BPS is excited to see some of our students with the highest needs return [Monday] to four of our schools serving vulnerable learners with complex disabilities," BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said in a statement. “BPS has worked to provide additional safety measures to ensure our students and staff feel comfortable and safe in our buildings and are free to focus on teaching and learning.”

High COVID-19 transmission rates in the city had previously led to the suspension of in-person learning. The rest of Boston Public Schools, the state’s largest school system, remains in the remote learning model.

Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang said the goal for teachers has always been to return to a safe learning environment.

“Despite some false reports to the contrary, BTU educators have consistently made clear our support for high quality, in-person learning service for high-need students-particularly those who have not been able to access quality remote learning,” Tang said in the statement. "This framework that reflects the common sense solutions advocated for by union educators will make the in-person learning experience safer and higher quality for our students with the greatest needs.”


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