State’s education commission seeks authority to do away with remote, hybrid learning

BOSTON — Friday could be a big step forward in the push to get students back in Massachusetts classrooms full-time.

The state’s education commissioner could receive emergency authority to determine when to do away with hybrid and remote learning for Massachusetts schools.

About 80 percent of schools in the Commonwealth have some form of in-person learning.

A Department of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday is expected to emphasize a return to in-person learning full-time for Massachusetts schools.

“I do believe there will be some flexibility because it cannot be a one size fits all for every district,” said Dr. Marice Edouard-Vincent, Superintendent of Medford Public Schools.

Edouard-Vincent told Boston 25 News that the majority of her district’s 4000 students are currently learning in-person two days a week.

She said about 1300 of those students are still opting for remote.

“We are in agreement with a goal of increasing in-person instruction for our students,” explained Edouard-Vincent. “As for the how and the when, we still need flexibility from both DESE and the board.”

Districts big and small will be watching closely for the outcome of Friday’s meeting.

Provincetown’s Superintendent Doctor Suzanne Scallion told Boston 25 News she anticipates DESE will be flexible.

“The circumstances in each community are so different based on your facilities, the age of your facilities, the ventilation system,” said Scallion. “Some of our teachers are still legitimately nervous.”

Scallion said about 20 percent of Provincetown’s 150 students are still opting for remote only learning.

“They definitely need to get back as quickly as they can. That’s juxtaposed against our need to vaccinate our teachers,” explained Scallion.

According to the state’s education commission, parents who want to keep their kids remote for the remainder of the school year can do so.

A DESE memo also states that districts that aren’t ready to return to traditional in person learning five days a week will have an opportunity to plead their case.

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