Boston Public School, COVID to Increase Cases Completely for Distance Education – Boston News, Weather, Sports

BOSTON (WHDH) – Mayor Martin J. Walsh confirmed Wednesday that the Boston public school will shift to a full-fledged distance education model as new COVID-19 cases in the city continue to climb at a related rate.

According to Walsh, students in pre-kindergarten through grade 3 were introduced on October 29 to begin hybrid learning, but they would remain remote until further notice.

High-person priority students who had previously been in classes two days a week would be required to return to full distance education, unless the test rates had two full weeks.

Superintendent of BPS Drs. Brenda Casselius said, “I am sad that today we have to close our doors to our most in need students.”

Laura Dotson, whose son Anthony is autistic, had been participating in the learning in person since October. 1. They will now be forced to transition back to remote education.

“I have to be mother, teacher, medicine, everything,” Dotson said. “I’m not skilled at all of that.”

City officials delayed the start of Phase III of in-person learning on Friday, but another negative surge in public health data prompted an indefinite suspension of in-person learning for all students.

The seven-day positivity rate in the city increased to 5.7 percent from 4.5 percent the previous week, reflecting public health data. More than 2,000 new cases have occurred during that time.

“We have said all along that we will only provide in-learning for students if the data and public health guidance supports it, and this new data shows that we are heading in the wrong direction,” Walsh said. “We will continue to monitor the metrics and work towards our goal of getting students back into our classrooms.”

According to Walsh, classes will not be reopened for high-person priority students until the city has a seven-day positivity rate of 5 consecutive weeks or less. When the positivity rate falls to 4 percent or below for two consecutive weeks, students’ phased return to learning will resume, starting with the youngest children in the city.

While Coronavirus is worrying for Laura Dotson, getting her son out of school is a major concern.

“He is not just missing from school, but he is missing additional services that help him develop motor skills and speech skills,” he said.

The Boston Teachers Union said they all supported the city’s decision to move into distance education, noting that they don’t feel comfortable going to classrooms unless there is a safe plan.

“We continue to advocate a safe and sustainable plan,” said BTU President Jessica Tang.

According to Tang, about a dozen students and employees who have returned to class in Boston have contracted COVID-19.

In-learning person’s suspension takes effect on Thursday.

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