Boston Public Schools

As Remote Learning Continues, Boston Officials Look Toward Summer School

The city is serving up to 15,000 meals a day to students in need

NBC Universal, Inc.

The head of Boston Public Schools is looking ahead to summer school as the city continues to provide daily resources for students learning remotely during the new coronavirus pandemic.

The city is currently serving meals up to 15,000 students in need each day, Superintendent Dr. Brenda Cassellius told NBC Boston in an interview Sunday morning.

There are 17 pick-up sites, and the city is also delivering 5,000 meals a day. Around 250,000 meals have been prepared since in-person classes were suspended in mid-March.

Gov. Charlie Baker announced on April 21 that Massachusetts schools would remain closed through the rest of the academic year.

With May around the corner, Cassellius has turned her attention to summer school programs, where she acknowledged students could face additional challenges if stay-at-home orders persist.

She hopes these may be mitigated with a robust summer options for families, including a potential hybrid option of in-person and online learning if the health situation permits.

"We know that some of our students, especially those who are most vulnerable, will have some learning loss," Cassellius said. "We want to be sure that we are able to mitigate that learning loss."

In recent weeks, bus drivers have begun working with food providers to deliver meals to students with disabilities, building off an initial effort that set up 17 school sites with prepared meals.

“We’re really doubling down to ensure every single one of our students has what they need to be able to continue their learning,” Cassellius said.

Authorities are also seeking to ensure students have what they need to keep learning classroom material, handing out 30,000 Chromebooks since the fall and providing free Wi-Fi and hotspots through partnerships with Comcast and Verizon.

“We’ve had some teachers who have used these methods for a long time, and some who are just getting started on it,” the superintendent said. “We’re getting better every week.”

She also noted officials are focusing on giving students mental health support, especially to seniors who are missing their usual ceremonies this spring.

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