Students in the Boston Public School district began their academic year remotely, Monday, amid trepidation about learning at home in what promises to be a year like any other.
Monday marks the first day of the 2020-2021 school year for the district. Boston students are starting the academic year fully remote before an exptected transition to a hybrid model amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Hal Robinson, a parent of a first grader in Boston Public schools, was anxiously awaiting Monday morning. And now it's here.
"It’s hard to get his attention," she said of her son. "The attention span of a six-year-old is 40 minutes at best, I know they’re talking hours a day so we’ll see how it happens.”
Boston is starting about three weeks later than normal due to COVID-19.
While the district will later transition to a hybrid model, a lot of details are still being worked out, including bus routes, academic schedules, the distribution of chrome books, and repairs to 7,000 windows.
The air quality in the city's schools also remains a concern for the Boston’s Teachers Union.
"The reason we're willing to do remote learning is not because we want to, but because health and safety has to come first," said union president Jessica Tang.
The all remote start has had parents scrambling to find help on the side since Mayor Marty Walsh made the announcement on Aug. 22.
Walsh attempted to reassure students via Twitter Sunday night, writing, "It's ok to feel nervous or uncertain. Nothing about 2020 has felt normal. But remember that your city and your mayor have your back, and we're here for you."
“They still need somebody, if there’s a concept in math for example, and the child doesn’t understand it, what are they going to do? They’re going to need somebody there to explain if to them and keep them on track,” remote learning tutor Kristy Howe said.
Parents are hoping this round goes better than last spring when schools unexpectedly went remote following the virus outbreak.
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As it stands right now, students with the highest needs will transition over to hybrid learning on Oct. 1.
Phases for rolling into in-person learning will begin no sooner than the dates listed below, according to district officials:
- Thursday, Oct. 1: Students with the highest needs
- Thursday, Oct. 15 (Group B) and Monday, Oct. 19 (Group A): Grades K0, K1, K2
- Thursday, Oct. 22 (B) and Monday, Oct. 26 (A): Grades 1-3
- Thursday, Nov. 5 (B) and Monday, Nov. 9 (A): Grades 4-8 (secondary schools start grades 6-8)
- Monday, Nov. 16 (A) and Thursday, Nov. 19 (B): Grades 9-12