Mayor Walsh: 100% Classroom Learning This Fall ‘Would Be a Stretch' in Boston

He said a blend of classroom and remote learning is "the preferred route"

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Tuesday that he thinks 100% classroom learning this fall "would probably be a stretch at this point."

He said the city is still looking at the three options: in-school learning, remote learning and a combination of the two. He said Superintendent Brenda Cassellius will present something to the School Committee on Wednesday to begin that conversation.

Mayor Marty Walsh addresses reopening schools in Boston.

"I think that it would probably be a stretch at this point to start school with everyone in school," Walsh added, saying that a blend of classroom and remote learning is "the preferred route."

Dr. Joseph Allen of Harvard University says the planning should have begun long ago.

"The day that we closed schools in March should have been the day we started making plans for how to get them back safely and prioritize our country's response with kids at the forefront," Allen said.

Parents are wondering what is happening with schools in Boston and across Massachusetts.

"We have done some analysis of what parents want," Walsh said. "Many parents want their kids back in school. But we want to make sure if and when kids go back into school that it's a safe environment. We want to take into account our teachers, our custodians, our food service folks. So I think over the course of the next few weeks we're going to have many conversations about how we would reopen school, potentially in a blended model, safely."

But Allen says a safe school reopening should have been prioritized over other businesses that have already reopened.

"How do we find ourselves in July, reopening parts of the economy like casinos and bars, at the expense of getting kids back to school safely?" he asked. "I find it totally incomprehensible, totally unacceptable. It's a gross failing."

Putting kids in school during a pandemic carries risk, but Allen says that keeping them out does, as well.

"Everything from virtual dropouts, where we're losing track of tens of thousands of students, from high schoolers all the way to kindergartners, to food security issues, sedentary activity and behaviors, lack of socialization, increased risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence."

Walsh also announced Tuesday that the city's two outdoor pools -- the Clougherty Pool in Charlestown and the Mirabella Pool in the North End -- will reopen to residents Wednesday. They will operate seven days a week through Labor Day, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The city's 16 indoor pools are open only for youth attending in-person summer programming at this time.

Two public pools will reopen Wednesday in Boston, but there are some strict changes.

Anyone wanting to use either outdoor pool will have to register ahead of time for a 90-minute swim time slot at Walk-ins will not be allowed. Registration will go live 24 hours before the following day's sessions.

When registering, residents will be asked COVID-19 screening questions. They will be asked those questions again when checking into the pool for their session. Residents must come dressed to swim, as the locker rooms are closed.

Boston Mayor Walsh provides an update on COVID-19, including the opening of pools and new bike lanes.

Boston reported four new coronavirus cases on Monday for a total of 13,860. Nearly 10,000 of them have recovered. No new COVID-19 deaths were reported, leaving the city's total fatalities at 722.

Walsh said the city launched a new mobile testing team on Tuesday that will be operating over the next three months. It will be located at the Jackson Mann Community Center in Allston for the next two weeks, before moving to another location.

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