Walsh: Decision Coming ‘Very Soon' on How Boston Public Schools Will Start

Since he'd last spoken, Boston Public Schools moved their start date back to Sept. 21 and released its final reopening plan submitted to the state, but it hasn't said if classes would begin remotely or not

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Students at Boston Public Schools will soon know if they will be headed back to class at the start of the school year, Mayor Marty Walsh said Tuesday.

Speaking at his regular update on Boston's coronavirus response from City Hall, Walsh noted that, whatever the decision is, parents will be allowed to opt for remote learning if they wanted.

"Very soon we will be making decisions on whether to reopen on a remote learning or a hybrid model, but I want to be clear, every family has the choice to begin the year remotely, even if we have a hybrid model on the table," he said.

Those plans will depend on what the city's coronavirus metrics say. He noted Tuesday that the most recent data showed the city's positive COVID-19 test rate at 2.6%, down from 2.8% the week before.

"That's a place we want to stay, and even go lower than that," Walsh said.

In a COVID-19 update, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh pushes the school start from Sept. 10 to Sept. 21 and says a plan will be announced "very soon" on if schools will be remote or a hybrid of remote and in-person learning.


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Walsh had appeared earlier Tuesday with Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius at a back-to-school event at TD Garden.

When he last spoke on Thursday, Walsh answered questions about plans to reopen Boston schools in the fall.

Though Boston schools will not reopen with 100% in-class learning, the mayor said then he remained hopeful that there will be at least some in-person learning this year.

"We know there's going to be remote learning this year," Walsh said. "We hope there will be in person learning this year. We're planning and preparing to make sure both of them work and it's high quality."

Boston school officials say the reopening plan they choose will largely depend on whether COVID-19 infection rates remain low enough for classrooms to reopen.

Between that news conference and Tuesday, Boston Public Schools moved its start date from Sept. 10 to Sept. 21 and released the final reopening plan they submitted to the state by Friday's deadline.

The plan rules out a full return to classes in the fall, but falls short of a definitive decision about whether to start school with students learning exclusively from home or in a hybrid model combining remote learning with in-person classes.

The open-ended approach -- which has drawn criticism -- instead seeks to emphasize guidance from health officials as well as parental choice.

City Councilor Julia Mejia said parents should have gotten word on the decision already.

"Given the fact that school is going to be starting in the next few weeks, a lot of these things are happening a little too late," she said.

Gov. Charlie Baker said that he thinks schools in communities with a low rate of coronavirus cases should be working toward at least some in-class instruction.

She echoed some teachers' concerns that schools aren't ready.

"Educators and parents and students need to have a voice at the table and I think oftentimes they've been more of an afterthought," Mejia said.

Cassellius acknowledged those concerns at the event with the mayor Tuesday, and noted that the district is fixing thousands of windows to improve ventilation.

At that event, Walsh urged them to collaborate, not disrupt the process: "I would ask them to work with the supt and work with the district rather than work against it."

Massachusetts reported six new coronavirus deaths and 175 new cases on Tuesday. Boston reported no new deaths and 24 new cases, Walsh said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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