Parents' Group Rallies for In-Person Schooling in Massachusetts

A demonstration calling for in-person learning this fall took place outside the State House Wednesday

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A group of parents gathered outside the State House Wednesday to call on Gov. Charlie Baker to bring students back to the classrooms this fall.

A "Make Way for Education" protest, organized by the group Bring Kids Back MA, started at 3:30 p.m. Demonstrators are demanding that the Baker administration develop a "transparent, metrics-based" guide for school districts to reopen in person.

"I think we have to let data drive this and metrics drive this because somehow I feel like our education for our children has become an optional service when really there is a right to education," said Antigone Grasso of Bring Kids Back.

School districts have until Friday to submit their reopening plans to the state. Districts have been directed to prepare plans for three different models of instruction -- in-person, remote, or a blend of the two -- with school committees voting on the model their community will use to start the year. Approaches vary by community.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts has identified how much the novel coronavirus is currently spreading in all its communities, pointing out the 33 that are at moderate or high risk of spreading COVID-19 in a new color-coded map released yesterday.

"On schools - if you’re in a green or white community, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t go back to school, whether it’s full-time or hybrid, because you meet all the benchmarks from across the country, on whether its safe to go back to school," Baker said.

Norfolk Superintendent Ingrid Allardi announced Monday evening that her district would adopt a hybrid model "out of an abundance of caution," with students in grades 1-6 spending two days a week in the classroom and learning remotely the other three.

Somerville officials have announced they plan to start the year entirely with remote learning, citing the need to develop a COVID-19 surveillance testing plan and assess their buildings' ventilation systems.

State House News Service contributed to this report.

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