Coronavirus in Mass.: Schools Shut Down, MBTA Scales Back Service

The state has reported 218 cases of COVID-19 so far

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Students remained at home amid statewide closure of public schools and the MBTA was running on a reduced schedule as Massachusetts grappled with the coronavirus outbreak.

Tuesday was the first day of mandated closures of public schools in the state that will last until April 7. For the Boston Public Schools community, schools will be closed until April 27.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts has risen to 218, public health officials said Tuesday, an increase of 21 from Monday.

Massachusetts is one of the states with the most coronavirus cases in the country so far. While no one has died from the virus locally, more than 100 people have died nationwide.

On Monday, students, parents and teachers were given one last day to gather their things from campus. Parents could pick up medications and teachers could hand out assignments. Many students said that classrooms were mostly quiet.

Gov. Charlie Baker has said school staff should be planning alternative learning opportunities, and urged parents to truly practice social distancing. That means no free-for-all playdates, and more time at home with only immediate family.

Connecticut also closed schools as of Monday night. Rhode Island started vacation week early on Monday, and Vermont schools will close their doors after classes today. New Hampshire closed schools Monday, and Maine Gov. Janet Mills has recommended school closures.

Boston has prepared a map of sites where Boston Public Schools students can pick up free breakfast and lunch. Mayor Marty Walsh announced the move Sunday as he declared a public health emergency in Boston.

Also Monday, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority announced it would reduce service beginning on Tuesday to help slow the spread of coronavirus and due to recent reductions in ridership.

The changes are being made based on guidance from public health officials around social distancing, the MBTA said.

To alleviate crowding on the Blue Line due to the reduction in service, the MBTA will restore an additional train, Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards said Tuesday. In addition to increasing Blue Line service in the morning, there will be greater capacity on the Green Line's E Branch and more service on some key bus routes.

The revised schedule is below:

ModeService Change
Blue LineTrains every 9 to 13 minutes
Orange LineTrains every 9 to 11 minutes
Red Line between Alewife and JFK/UMassTrains every 7 minutes
Red Line Ashmont and Braintree BranchesTrains every 14 minutes
Green LineTrolleys every 7 to 13 minutes on the branches; more frequent service on the trunk
Bus (with exceptions)*Saturday schedule
*Express Bus Routes 325, 326, 351, 352, 354, 501Regular Weekday Schedules
FerryService cancelled
Commuter RailReduced Service - Schedules posted on
Mattapan LineTrolleys every 12 to 26 minutes
The RIDEFull service

Rapid Transit
On the Blue Line, trains can be expected to arrive approximately every nine to 13 minutes. On the Orange Line, trains can be expected approximately every nine to 11 minutes.

On the Red Line between Alewife and JFK/UMass Stations, trains can be expected to arrive approximately every seven minutes. Red Line trains on the Ashmont and Braintree branches will run approximately every 14 minutes.

Green Line trolleys will run every seven to 13 minutes on the branches, with more frequent service on the trunk.

MBTA buses will operate on a Saturday schedule with a number of exceptions. Select express bus routes 325326351352354, and 501 will operate according to regular weekday schedules.

Ferry service will be cancelled until further notice. Ferry customers who board at the Hingham and Hull terminals are encouraged to use West Hingham or Nantasket Junction Stations on the Greenbush Commuter Rail Line as an alternative.  

Commuter Rail
All Commuter Rail lines will operate on reduced schedules, which can be found at On all lines, Commuter Rail schedules are being modified to support targeted periods of peak travel while providing options for off-peak travel throughout the day.

Mattapan Line
The Mattapan Line will run trolley service approximately every 12 to 26 minutes.

The MBTA will continue to operate full service on the RIDE. The MBTA encourages RIDE customers to plan their trips accordingly and follow the guidance of public health officials while in close contact with older adults or people with underlying health issues. 

CharlieCard Store
The MBTA’s CharlieCard Store is located at 7 Chauncy St. within Downtown Crossing Station. Normal hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. In the event that hours of operation change, customers should check for updated service hours.

Nationally, Amtrak also announced a reduced schedule. Northeast Corridor service will run at 40% of normal weekday operations. Click here for more information.

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