The earliest start date of in-person learning for pre-K to third grade Boston Public Schools students has been pushed back a week, officials said Friday, amid rising coronavirus cases across the city.
The students' start date under Phase 3 of the four-phase plan, which had been set for no sooner than Oct. 22, is now no sooner than Oct. 29, according to the district.
The rest of the schedule remains unchanged. Boston Public Schools said it is also on Friday reaching out to families of high in-person priority students who have been in school two days a week to tell them that they can start four days a week of that learning and support starting next week.
Mayor Marty Walsh said Friday's delay came as part of the city's commitment to reopening schools cautiously and under the guidance of public health data. That data has this week shown a citywide infection rate of 4.4%.
Boston had already paused the school reopening plan last week, when the city’s coronavirus positivity rate climbed higher than 4%, a benchmark the school system set ahead of the year.
“The health and safety of students, faculty and staff remains a top priority, and while we are confident that the preparations we have made in our school buildings make it a safe environment for in-person learning for a limited number of students, we are taking the necessary time before we bring back the next wave of students,” Walsh said in a statement Friday.
Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said in a statement that, “The entire City is rightly focused on ensuring our students, teachers, and staff have the opportunity for the best learning experience, whether fully remote or partially in-person.”
The current phase-in schedule for Boston Public Schools students who opted for in-person learning:
No sooner than Oct. 22: Students with high in-person priority begin four days a week, if families don't opt to remain at home
No sooner than Oct: 29 and Nov. 2: K0-Grade 3 (Cohort B & A)
No sooner than Nov. 5 and 9: Grades 4-8; secondary schools begin 6-8 (Cohort B & A)
No sooner than Nov.16 and 19: Grades 9 - 12 (Cohort A & B)