Boston Public Schools pauses timeline for in-person learning after city’s positivity rate rises

Phase 3 of the BPS reopening plan will be pushed back from October 15 to October 22

Boston Public Schools pauses timeline for in-person learning after city’s positivity rate rises

BOSTON — Boston Public Schools is pausing its timeline for in-person learning after the city’s positivity rate recently rose above four percent. The city is also on it’s second week of being considered a “high-risk” area.

The announcement was made by Mayor Marty Walsh on Wednesday morning.

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Right now, most students are learning remotely but the city had hoped to start welcoming back kindergarteners for hybrid learning October 15. That start has now been pushed back by one week.

Remote learning began on September 21 and families were allowed to opt-in for hybrid learning based on this original schedule:

  • PHASE 1 - September 21: Remote learning begins for all students
  • PHASE 2 - October 1: Students with the highest needs start hybrid learning
  • PHASE 3 - October 15 & 19: Grades K0, K1, K2
  • PHASE 3 - October 22 & 26: Grades 1 - 3
  • PHASE 4 - November 5 & 9: Grades 4 - 8 (Secondary schools begin 6-8)
  • PHASE 4 - Grades 9 - 12 High Schools

Walsh announced that Phase 3 of the reopening plan will be postponed from October 15 to October 22. Students in grades K0-K2 will enter school no sooner than October 22.

“It is disheartening in some ways and there is no one to blame, we are talking about a pandemic, a global pandemic,” said Walsh.

(Boston Public Schools)

Schools are fully remote on Wednesday but will reopen on Thursday to continue serving students with the highest needs.

Seven-year-old Simon Castro showed up at the mayor’s news conference with a sign that read “we need school," which caught Walsh’s attention.

His mother, Megan Castro, says her son is in the special needs program at a Charlestown school and being back in-person has made a world of difference.

“They need to back he needs to be in school,” said Castro.

Walsh acknowledged the sign, saying, “he’s holding a sign [saying] ‘We need school,’ and I understand the importance of having school for our young people."

The mayor end up talking to Simon and his mother after the news conference to explain that special needs students will be able to stay in school even with the reopening being put on pause.

“Can you imagine your kid starting school and having never met the teacher before?” said Castro.

According to the agreement between the Boston Teacher’s Union and the district, if the COVID-19 positivity rate rises above 4% the district would move to remote learning until the Boston Public Health Commission or other officials determine the district can reopen.

You can read more about the contracts between the Boston Teacher’s Union and Boston Public Schools here.

Walsh ended his speech by saying they would monitor the health data and would have to update the timing of the reopening based on that information on a week-by-week basis.

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