Dozens rally to support in-person learning outside Framingham schools

Dozens rally to support in-person learning outside Framingham schools

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Dozens of parents and students gathered outside Framingham High School Monday, rallying support for in-person learning.

“The students you would never think would be ready to go back to school, they are ready because that social, emotional and in-person education piece is invaluable,” said Laura Grome, a Framingham parent. “They’re struggling and they’re suffering.”

Amy Mancini says her third grade daughter has a learning disability and is quickly falling behind with remote learning.

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“She used to be an amazing reader,” said Mancini. “She has not progressed since last year at all and can no longer read at all because of the headaches she’s getting.”

Mancini’s daughter and most other Framingham students have been fully remote since March because of the pandemic.

“She also has a hard time focusing, she gets really debilitating headaches from looking at the screen all day,” said Mancini. “She loses focus and then falls behind and then it has this multi layered effect where it ends up getting anxiety.”

State leaders recently changed the metrics for measuring the risk level for COVID-19 in each town.

Under the new guidance, Framingham dropped from a red zone to yellow.

“I think we need to take the yellow, red and the green out of it and see what’s working here in the city and take it on a day by day basis,” said Grome.

In a letter to families, Framingham Public Schools superintendent Dr. Robert Tremblay says they’re working on starting a hybrid model for all students in January.

“Changes to the metric alone, however, do not change the fact that COVID cases are all around us,” said Dr. Tremblay. “While COVID cases have and will likely continue to rise and fall in every community, Framingham’s Department of Public Health has confirmed that our schools are not sources of virus spread.”

Still, the plan is to keep most students learning remotely until January at the earliest.

“I would be happy with any solid plan, but I don’t think we even have a plan for January,” said Mancini.

The superintendent says all students with the highest needs are returning to school in person in phases right now, but that’s just about 25% of the student population.

“Our facilities are ready with nearly $3M of federally COVID-appropriated money spent on personal protective equipment (PPE), HVAC system upgrades, signage, and extraordinary risk-mitigation efforts in anticipation of this graduated return of our students,” said Dr. Tremblay. “That said, however, we must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to prevent any spread of virus which may be contracted from outside of our schools, and we must proceed cautiously and gradually.”

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