Boston Public Schools superintendent details timeline for return to in-person learning

BOSTON (WHDH) - Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius on Thursday detailed a timeline for returning more students to in-person learning amid the coronavirus pandemic. She also called on residents to step up and do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 to make a return to the classroom possible for students.

“Better days lie ahead,” Cassellius said as she expressed optimism about getting the city’s more than 50,000 students back to class in some capacity by spring.

About 4,900 students who have qualified for high-in person priority are scheduled to return to in-person learning on Feb. 1, according to Cassellius.

That includes high-need level 4 students with disabilities, levels 1 and 2 English language learners, students in the care of DCF, students experiencing homelessness, students with limited or interrupted formal education, and students identified by school support teams, Cassellius said.

This is followed by students in kindergarten through third grade, groups A & B, on March 1 and March 4; students in fourth through eighth grade, Groups A & B, on March 15 and March 18; and students in ninth through 12th grade, Groups A & B, on March 29 and April 1.

The timeline is for returning students whose families have selected hybrid learning. The hybrid learning model remains opt-in for parents and caregivers.

Each phase may be postponed by one to two weeks based on the public health environment.

An agreement to return to in-person learning between the Boston Teachers Union and the school district has also been updated to extend key health, safety, and staffing protocols to the future reopening of all school buildings for the remainder of the school year.

Some back-school safety measures include limiting the number of people in buildings, adding air purifiers to classrooms and common areas, boosting air quality testing, providing additional PPE, and offering free COVID-19 testing for teachers and staff.

There are currently about 1,900 high-need students who are learning in person.

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