On the eve of the first day of remote learning for Boston Public Schools, Mayor Marty Walsh has a message for students.
"To all of the students out there, please know that it's ok to feel nervous or uncertain," Walsh wrote on Twitter. "Nothing about 2020 has felt normal. But remember that your city and your mayor have your back, and we're here for you."
Monday marks the first day of the 2020-2021 school year for the district. Boston students will be starting the academic year fully remote, before later transitioning to a hybrid model amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Hal Robinson, a parent of a first grader in Boston Public schools, says he is anxiously awaiting Monday morning.
"We’ll see what happens tomorrow," Robinson said. "It looks pretty ambitious what they have scheduled for us.”
Robinson says he'll have to see how it happens.
"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 Walsh made the announcement on Aug. 22.
“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.
Class During Covid-19
Janay Mitchell, a Dedham parent, has already started remote learning with her daughter, and she has advice for parents in Boston.
“Just be patient with your children, it’s all a learning process," she said. "There’s going to be some technical issues you’ll come across, just be patient and work with your kids.”
“Teachers, I think we need to give them more credit for doing their jobs because now we realize as parents how hard it is to do home schooling,” one father said.
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