BOSTON (WHDH) - High schools across Massachusetts will be required to bring all students back to the classroom for full-time, in-person learning by May 17, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey C. Riley announced Tuesday.

In March, state officials gave Riley the authority to decide when remote and hybrid learning models no longer count toward required student learning time regulations.

Riley has since utilized a phased-in approach to bring schools back to fully in-person learning, which began with elementary schools on April 5 and middle schools on April 28.

After having done online learning for almost the entire school year, Arlington freshman Olivia Morales said she is a little annoyed at the change.

The shift will be a little more challenging for her because she is not just new to the high school, but new to the school district.

“Because of it being online for so long I didn’t really make any friends cause it’s kinda impossible with Zoom classes,” she explained.

All high schools must return to full-time, in-person learning by May 17 unless a district receives a waiver from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, according to Riley. Waivers will be considered only in a limited set of circumstances, and any district that does not receive a waiver will be required to make up any missed structured learning time.

Andover mom Heather Ferro said she hopes her kids’ school makes the transition from hybrid learning to full in-person lessons.

“Something is better than nothing,” she said. “I think for a lot of districts like ours forcing it now gives us a better chance that maybe we’ll be back in the fall.”

There are currently 146 school districts already fully in-person in grades K-12. By May 17, a total of 198 school districts plan to be back fully in-person in grades K-12, representing two-thirds of all high schools in the Commonwealth.


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