Boston Public Schools switching to all remote-learning due to rising COVID-19 numbers

Boston Public Schools switching to all remote-learning due to rising COVID-19 numbers

BOSTON — All students in Boston Public Schools will switch to remote learning due to the rising coronavirus numbers in the city.

Earlier this month the mayor put a pause on the reopening. Now, all students are going remote starting Thursday.

Just a few weeks ago, little Simon Castro was at City Hall with his sign for Mayor Marty Walsh that read: “I need school." We caught up with him Wednesday after news that Boston was going all remote. 

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His mother, Megan Castro, said, “It’s a bummer. The main frustration is this isn’t going to solve our problem.”

The announcement, made in a letter sent to parents Wednesday morning, states that due to a rising infection rate in the city, all students will shift to remote learning effective Thursday, October 22.

The numbers are going up. The city’s seven-day average COVID-19 positive test rate was reported at 5.7% which is an increase from last week’s rate of 4.5%.

Once the citywide seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate is below 5% for two consecutive weeks, students with the highest needs will have the option to return to in-person learning.

The original timeline for in-person learning was paused on Oct. 7 after the positive rate rose above 4%.

When the positivity rate drops below 4% for two consecutive weeks, Boston Public Schools will restart the phased-in plan for students to return to in-person learning.

Full remote learning options will be available for families who decide not to send their children back to school for in-person learning.

Walsh on BPS shift to remote-only: Past 5 weeks show rising COVID-19 cases in city, community spread
We have said all along that we will only provide in-person learning for students if the data and public health guidance supports it, and this new data shows that we are trending in the wrong direction. We will continue to monitor the metrics and work towards our goal of welcoming students back into our classrooms, learning among their peers, supported and educated by our dedicated staff.
Mayor Marty Walsh

The decision was made in consultation with public health officials and after reviewing data that shows weeks of increasing positive cases in the City of Boston.

The teacher’s union supports the move because of the troubling numbers. 

Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang said in an afternoon news conference they support the switch to all remote because of the higher numbers but “I think there is been this misunderstanding or a false narrative they we just wanted to go all remote but that is not the case. We wanted a better safer plan and we needed to insure we have safe facilities."

The parents we talked to said it seems the protocols in place were working. 

Jody Fink, who has a kindergartener, said, “It is impossible for him to learn at home. It’s so beneficial. he’s floating on air when he comes home from school and the in person is just a huge benefit."

BPS remains committed to providing in-person learning opportunities to our students as soon as it is appropriate to do so, and will continue to prioritize our students with the highest needs for in-person learning. I know our students and teachers have been making great progress since in-person learning started on October 1 and that schools and families were looking forward to a return to school buildings. But we must do our part to slow the spread and keep our students, families, and staff safe.
Boston Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Brenda Cassellius

Castro also questions, “Why are we able to do every other thing? They have hockey, soccer, they can go to trampoline parks now for goodness sakes. But they can’t go to school.”

The teachers union also told us this difficult decision to switch back to all remote is a direct result of a failed White House response to the pandemic.

The school district is exploring options to provide services for students with complex disabilities and will provide more information to families as they have it.

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