coronavirus

Boston Schools to Give Updated Coronavirus Plans After Vacation Week, Walsh Says

The mayor also said that tourism to Boston could take months or a year to recover

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Boston Public Schools have been planning in case classrooms were to be closed through the end of the academic year, and now that they have been, the district's plans are set to be released in a week, after the vacation, Mayor Marty Walsh said Wednesday.

"Supporting the needs of all of our students remains the top priority," Walsh said during a news briefing at city hall.

Days after the city would have been packed with visitors for the Boston Marathon, Walsh addressed several issues, including how long tourism may take to bounce back. He said he has "major concerns" for the industry and hasn't started thinking about what it would take to postpone this year's marathon again.

"I don't see tourism coming back for months, if not a year or so," he said.

He also took aim at President Donald Trump for moving to close down immigration amid the deadly pandemic.

It was his first press briefing since Monday, when he had expressed doubt that school would be back in session in the city -- and on Tuesday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker did indeed announce that schools would continue with remote learning through the end of the year.

The city's institutions of higher education are thinking about the fall semester might look, with students returning. Walsh said he was on a call with their presidents Tuesday to discuss what re-opening would look like.

"They have to consider public health and safety measures that they haven't considered before," he said, without explaining what precautions might look like.

The city has now seen 6,010 cases, according to Walsh. Statewide, there have been nearly 43,000 cases, and over 2,100 deaths, as of Wednesday.

The school system has been preparing for being closed through the end of the academic year.

Walsh emphasized that Bostonians need to keep up their social distancing efforts, like staying home as much as possible and wearing face coverings when they go out, even though it's hard.

"We're still concerned about people that aren't taking this seriously enough," the mayor said.

Another thing that won't help Boston, Walsh said, is Trump's order this week to stop the federal government from offering new green cards during the outbreak.

Walsh condemned it as unhelpful for both the people in the city and the economy, noting that immigrants make up a large proportion of the city's health care workers, construction workers and the food industry.

"We will continue to stand with our immigrant communities no matter what. We are one Boston community that looks out for one another," he said.

His news conference Wednesday came after Baker said the state is seeing encouraging signs that the surge in coronavirus cases has plateaued.

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