BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Due to a rising COVID-19 infection rate in the City of Boston, all Boston Public School students will shift to remote learning effective Thursday.
The change comes after the city’s seven-day average COVID-19 positive test rate was reported at 5.7 percent, an increase from last week’s rate of 4.5 percent. BPS leaders said students will remain in remote learning until there are two full weeks of falling infection rates.
Once the citywide seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate is at 5 percent or below for two consecutive weeks, students with the highest needs will have the option to return to in-person learning.
When the citywide seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate is at 4 percent or below for two consecutive weeks, BPS will restart the phased return of students for in-person learning, beginning with our youngest students. BPS said it will continue to respect family choice and will provide fully remote learning for all who choose it.
"We have said all along that we will only provide in-person learning for students if the data and public health guidance supports it, and this new data shows that we are trending in the wrong direction,” said Mayor Marty Walsh on Wednesday. “We will continue to monitor the metrics and work towards our goal of welcoming students back into our classrooms, learning among their peers, supported and educated by our dedicated staff."
BPS Superintendent Dr. Brenda Cassellius said she is "heartbroken" to have to close doors to the highest-need students.
"Our families are desperate for these services for their children, many of whom are non-verbal and unable to use technology in the home," she said. "We will work with the Boston Teachers Union and remain committed to providing in-person learning opportunities to our students as we are able, as we continue to prioritize our students with the highest needs for in-person learning."
BPS officials said they will be providing updates to plans as soon as they develop. In addition, schools will work with families who may need to pick up technology or other personal items students may have left at school.
The district said it is also exploring options for providing services for our students with complex disabilities and will update families with more information in the coming days.
All BPS students started the school year learning remotely on September 21. Families were able to select if they wanted to keep their students in all-remote learning or opt into a hybrid learning model, and students recognized as High In-Person Priority were able to return for in-person learning beginning October 1. BPS said families will be notified of an updated timeline for their children to resume or begin in-person learning for the school year as soon as public health data allows.
(Photo: Getty Images)