Boston public schools go all-online after uptick in COVID-19 cases

Boston public schools go all-online after uptick in COVID-19 cases
© Getty Images

Boston Public Schools announced that it is shifting to fully remote learning starting Thursday after the city reported a rise in coronavirus infection rates.

The city’s seven-day positivity rate was reported at 5.7 percent, an increase from last week’s rate of 4.5 percent. Students will remain in remote learning until there are two full weeks of falling infection rates. 

“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,” Boston’s Mayor Martin Walsh (D) said in a statement. “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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Students in Boston began the school year remotely on Sept. 21, and only those with the highest priority returned for in-person learning two days a week on Oct. 1. On Friday, the school district delayed in-person classes for students in pre-kindergarten through third grade from Oct. 22 to Oct. 29.

The school district said students with the highest needs can return to in-person learning once the citywide seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate is at or below 5 percent for two weeks. When the positivity rate is at or below 4 percent for two weeks, the district will restart the phased return of other students, beginning with the youngest students.

The district said it will still provide fully remote learning to all who chose it. 

“I am heartbroken that today we have to close our doors to our 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,” Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said in a statement. “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.” 

On Tuesday, the city of Boston reported 18,834 cumulative cases of the virus as of Oct. 19. There have been 771 deaths. 

ADVERTISEMENT