Boston Students Plan Walkout On COVID Safety

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BOSTON (WBZNewsRadio) — Students in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) are planning a walkout to demand stronger safety protocols against COVID-19.

The Boston Student Advisory Council is organizing the demonstration, which is planned to start at 10:30AM on Friday. The organizers want the school to go remote for two weeks, and have the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) count remote learning towards the state's mandated 180 days of classroom learning.

"This protest is not directly aimed at the district," said one student organizer with BSAC, "but at the state and DESE."

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Friday also is an important day for DESE, according to BPS Deputy Superintendent Drew Echelson. He expects the district to welcome back a large number of faculty and staff who called out at the start of the semester. If there are not enough staff to go around, Echelson said plans to switch to remote learning are in the works.

"[We are] ensuring that our students have the devices that they need and learning kits," he explained. "We have daycare options for some families that might need that. We have professional learning opportunities for, particularly, our new educators who might not have taught remotely in the past. We have all the communications ready to go to make sure our families have the information that they need in multiple languages."

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BSAC is also making demands for better PPE for teachers and improved contact tracing. This comes as Gov. Charlie Baker has been clear in recent weeks that he is adamantly opposed to counting remote days of learning in the state-mandated total.

A webinar after the walkout will be followed by phone-banking public officials, speeches and a period for public comment.

WBZ's James Rojas (@JamesRojasNews) has more:

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