MALDEN, MASS. (WHDH) - Teachers unions across the Commonwealth want the state to adopt a four-phase approach to reopening public schools in the fall, similar to Gov. Charlie Baker’s phased economic reopening plan.

With low COVID-19 transmission rates in Massachusetts, Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said the priority moving forward is for schools to provide students with in-person instruction come the start of the new school year.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has released guidance on reopening schools, which calls for each district to submit reopening plans for in-person learning, remote learning, and a mix of the two. The plans need to be submitted by July 31.

In a recent letter, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the Boston Teachers Union, and the American Federation of Teachers of Massachusetts said a return to the classroom must be done in phases.

“In the same way that the state is taking a deliberate and careful approach to reopening the economy, the state must take an equally deliberate and careful approach to reopening our public schools,” the letter read.

The proposed reopening plan includes the following phases:

  • Phase One: Staff Preparation
  • Phase Two: Student Preparation
  • Phase Three: Resume Learning
  • Phase 4: Assess Next Steps

Teachers also want Massachusetts to provide them with personal protective equipment and ensure HVAC systems are providing schools with clean air, in addition to daily cleanings and a set protocol if students or staff test positive for COVID-19.

The state’s education department is urging districts to keep their plans for reopening private until August, despite the fact that families are anxious to plan ahead for the fall.

For more information on the four-phased proposal, click here.

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