BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Boston Public School students will start the fall semester under a fully-remote learning model, with an option to take part in a "phased return" to in-person classes, depending on the public health data.
Mayor Marty Walsh announced the school district's "flexible" back-to-school plan Friday, emphasizing that all BPS families will have the option to remain fully-remote if the virtual model works best for them.
"Kids need to get back to school, in many cases for reasons of equity and safety. And we need to provide quality education, in whatever format is required. That’s what this plan makes possible," said Walsh. "In every step, families have the choice of whether to opt-in to hybrid learning, or stay fully remote. To be clear, the dates ... are dependent on the public health data."
According to the district's flexible plan, teachers will arrive in school on Tuesday, September 8 to begin preparations for teaching both the remote and hybrid models from their classrooms. Starting September 21, all BPS students will begin with remote learning five days a week.
Walsh said the first students will not return to classrooms until at least October 1, when the option of hybrid learning may begin for students with the highest needs. As more students phase in to classrooms, Wash said there will still be "less than 50 percent of the normal numbers at any given time."
On October 15, optional hybrid learning may begin for the youngest students, in all 3 grades of kindergarten, and on October 22, opt-in hybrid learning may begin for grades 1-3.
On November 5, opt-in hybrid learning may begin for grades 4-8, which will include grades 6-8 in the high schools that include them. On November 16, opt-in hybrid learning may begin for grades 9-12.
Ahead of the first day of school, BPS officials will be contacting all families to ask their selection between hybrid and remote learning.
BPS Superintendent Dr. Brenda Cassellius said each school will also have a "tech co-ordinator stipend," which will help assist with the co-ordination of new devices and home internet in every building, and every student will be led through a "tech-checkup" before school starts.
Walsh said the city's return-to-school model is flexible, since all Boston public schools will have "unique circumstances" that require somewhat different approaches to each phase.
"School facilities will be in full compliance with state public health guidelines from the first day anyone enters those buildings, staff or students. That work is happening now," said Walsh. "It will be complete and ongoing, as teachers and school leaders help us identify additional steps."
(Photo: Getty Images, Graphic: City Of Boston)