Boston Public Schools Announces Delay in Phase 3 Return to In-Person Learning

Phase 3 now set to resume no sooner than October 29
BOSTON — Friday, October 16, 2020 — Boston Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Brenda Cassellius today announced that the district will delay the start of Phase 3 of in-person learning for students in Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 3 by one week, from no sooner than October 22 to no sooner than October 29. The rest of the phase-in calendar remains unchanged.

In alignment with the decision to continue the option of in-person learning for high needs students, the district also announced that students with High In-Person Priority who had previously been in classrooms two days per week can begin four days a week of instruction and support services in schools beginning next week. All families eligible for this expansion of in-person learning are being notified tonight.

“In keeping with our commitment to a cautious approach to school reopening, and being guided by a continual evaluation of public health data, we have made the decision to again delay the next phase of in-person learning,” said Mayor Walsh. “The health and safety of students, faculty and staff remains a top priority, and while we are confident that the preparations we have made in our school buildings make it a safe environment for in-person learning for a limited number of students, we are taking the necessary time before we bring back the next wave of students.”

The announcement was made in consultation with public health officials and in reviewing data that show an uptick in confirmed positive cases across the entire City of Boston, with the citywide infection rate now being 4.4%. Boston Public Schools (BPS) consults daily with Boston’s public health officials to review data and make decisions about students and staff returning to schools. The delay of one week will allow for the City to continue implementing safety protocols to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to continue reviewing data to make informed decisions about offering in-person learning.

Due in part to the delay of the next phase of students returning to schools, BPHC sent a letter to Superintendent Cassellius noting that schools can now accommodate students with High In-Person priority up to four days a week in schools. The letter notes for the Superintendent: “Given the safety, prevention and public health protocols BPS has adopted and physical facilities preparation that have been put in place, the Boston Public Health Commission has determined that schools can expand offering in-person learning to the high priority students with their teachers and other staff on site to a four-days a week schedule.”

“The entire City is rightly focused on ensuring our students, teachers, and staff have the opportunity for the best learning experience, whether fully remote or partially in-person,” said Superintendent Cassellius. “This new announcement allows for us to continue providing enriching teaching and supports for our students in buildings while continuing to offer innovative online learning for families who have selected remote for their students.”

The remainder of the phase-in schedule remains the same.

All dates are no sooner than:

October 22: Students with High In-Person Priority begin four days a week (based on family preference)
October 29 & November 2: K0 - Grade 3 (Cohort B & A)
November 5 & 9: Grades 4 - 8 - secondary schools begin 6 - 8 (Cohort B & A)
November 16 & 19: Grades 9 - 12 (Cohort A & B)

All BPS students started the school year in remote learning on September 21. Families were able to select if they wanted to keep their students in remote learning or opt in to a return to in-person learning. Students with High In-Person Priority began in-person learning on October 1. The remaining students whose families have selected in-person learning will follow the schedule outlined above.

For more information on the BPS reopening plan, work done to prepare buildings for in-person learning, and the district’s health and safety protocols visit www.bostonpublicschools.org/reopening.  

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