By Mary Rose Corkery
The Boston Public Schools said Wednesday that students will be learning online tomorrow because of a COVID-19 case increase, according to a statement from the city.
The transition is a reaction to the week’s reported infection rate increase to 5.7% from last week’s 4.5%, according to a city statement.
“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,” Democratic Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in the statement. Walsh said they are going to continue looking at the metrics and try to get students to come back in-person.
“Students with the highest needs” can choose to transition back to in-person learning once Boston’s week-long infection rate metric goes under 5% for two weeks, the statement said. When that rate reaches below 4%, other students can start to phase back to in-person classes.
JUST IN — Boston Public Schools says because of rising infection rates in the city, all students will begin remote learning starting tomorrow, and will stay remote until there are two full weeks of decreasing infection rates. More to come on this.
— WBUR (@WBUR) October 21, 2020
The Boston Teachers Union applauded the move, but said it worries about the effects on “high-needs students,” according to a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“We continue to advocate for a safe and sustainable plan that safely provides the additional services that many of our special education, EL and other students continue to need,” the statement said.
The union said it anticipates collaborating with the Boston Public Schools to help “high-needs students” online and when the cases decrease.
“Parents deserve as much predictability as possible for the next set of scenarios, and we think there is an opportunity by working together — and with educators and families having a voice at the table — for the system to achieve more predictability for students, families and educators,” the statement continued.
The union blamed “a failed White House response to the pandemic” for “these difficult decisions and recent developments,” according to the statement. The union recommended people vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris to get resources lost due to COVID-19 and “to keep students and communities safe.”
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