Lack of air purifiers forces Lowell school to push back start of in-person learning for most

LOWELL, MASS. (WHDH) -

Lowell Public School officials announced Tuesday that most of their students will not be able to begin in-person learning as scheduled due to a lack of air purifiers.

Students in grades 1-12 who were scheduled for in-person learning starting on Sept. 17 — and are not assigned to substantially separate special education programs — will begin the school year in a remote learning setting after the remainder of the school’s purifiers were held up in shipping due to delays in a national supply chain, according to a release issued by Superintendent Joel D. Boyd.

Currently, there are 128 air purifiers available for use across the entire district.

Students who received an in-person learning seat at the day schools – Dr. Janice Adie, Laura Lee Therapeutic, and LeBlanc Therapeutic – will still report to these school buildings for in-person instruction, as scheduled, on Thursday for the first day of school.

Additionally, students who received an in-person learning seat in the following substantially separate special education programs – Classrooms for Students with Autism (CSA), Life-skills Education and Planning (LEAP) and Language-based classrooms – will still report to their school buildings for in-person instruction, as scheduled, on Thursday, as well.

Preschool and kindergarten students who received an in-person learning seat will still report in person to their school building, as scheduled, on Monday, September 21 for their first day of school.

“I understand how disruptive and disappointing this can be for families. Prior to making this decision, we exhausted all options – locally and nationally – for securing the air purifiers that we need as part of our protocol for exceeding health and safety guidelines necessary for reopening classrooms,” Boyd wrote. ” Ultimately, we made a commitment to you to place student and staff safety as our top priority, and we are holding firmly to this commitment.”

So far, it is unclear when the district will be able to move forward as planned.

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