Boston Public Schools Start Remote Learning Today. Here's What to Know

The decision to pivot all Boston schools to remote learning is expected to impact thousands of families.

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Boston Public Schools students began remote learning Thursday as part of an effort to curb the growing number of COVID-19 cases across the city.

The decision to pivot to remote learning came after an alarming rise in positive cases. More than 2,000 new coronavirus cases were reported within a seven-day period, increasing the city's positivity rate to 5.7%.

The decision is expected to impact thousands of families with school-aged children.

Here's what to know about the decision to move to remote learning:

  • Students in pre-kindergarten through grade 3 that were supposed begin hybrid learning will remain remote until further notice.
  • High-needs students, who were among the first to go back to school, now will need to stay home as well. 
  • A phased return to in-person learning is not expected until the positivity rate falls to 4% or below for two consecutive weeks.

Although the Boston Teachers Union announced it supports the change to all-remote learning, some families are disappointed by the move.

"We're all a little bit emotional that we have this announcement that we're gonna stay remote," said West Roxbury resident Margarita Barrios Ponce, who has three kids in school. "There was this hope of being able to go back hybrid."

With cases of the novel coronavirus going up, officials in Boston have decided to go back to remote only learning beginning Thursday.

Roxi Harvey's child has special needs and the Roxbury mother said she's just disappointed.

"I felt, like, heartbreak for those children who desperately need in-person services," Harvey said.

It might not take the form of traditional class, but Harvey thinks that schools should work to find some sort of in-person learning model for these students.

"Public schools... these are not the super-spreaders," she said. "OK, and we're talking about 2,600 high-needs students. I think this is manageable."

For some, like Kelsey Brendel's son Harry, school is so much more than reading, writing and arithmetic.

"Learning to walk, talk and do all the things that so many of us take for granted all happen by the way of school," Brendel said. "This particular group of students, high needs students, any kind of remote learning is an impossibility, not an inconvenience."

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