These Massachusetts School Districts Have Already Decided to Go Online Only This Fall

Friday is the deadline for schools to submit their finalized fall reopening plans to the state

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Friday is the deadline for schools to submit their fall reopening plans, and at least 32 of them have already decided against having kids return to class at all.

Auburn, Barnstable, Belmont, Bourne, Brockton, Brookline, Chelsea, Dedham, Everett, Framingham, Gardner, Lawrence, Leominster, Lynn, Marblehead, Manchester-Essex, Masconomet, Mendon-Upton, Methuen, Northbridge, Revere, Salem, Somerset, Somerville, Taunton, Topsfield, Wachusett, Watertown, Wayland, Webster, West Boylston and Worcester have announced plans for remote-only learning, according to NBC10 Boston’s Massachusetts school reopening tracker. Numerous others have announced that they will open with a hybrid of remote and in-class learning. So far, no schools have announced a plan for 100% classroom learning.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education told each district this week what kind of learning model it expects that community to deploy, based on local positivity rates, even after many have already made their own decisions using other factors.

Parents and students in Boston are still wondering exactly what learning will look like for them next month. Mayor Marty Walsh said Wednesday that Boston will not come back to fully in-person classes this fall, flagging the need for equity across all students to be the driving factor in how the city's schools return.

"We know there's going to be remote learning this year," he 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."

Part of the reason the in-person model has been ruled out for the fall is that the school district's facilities and transportation can't handle it right now, Superintendent Brenda Cassellius has said.

In a COVID-19 update, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh addresses reopening city schools amid the coronavirus pandemic and announces new funds for affordable housing.

That leaves school officials trying to decide between a hybrid or remote model. They say summer cleaning has been completed in 120 out of the district's 125 buildings so far, and the district has purchased safety supplies to get ready.

The Boston Teachers Union, however, has been calling on the district to open with only remote learning for the beginning of the year, with a phased-in return to in-person learning once it's safe.

"We continue to be very concerned about the timeline and don't think the simultaneous hybrid approach is realistic," said Jessica Tang, teachers union president.

The Boston Teachers Union plans to hold a rally and deliver its plan for a safe restart to the mayor on Thursday.

Boston schools are currently scheduled to reopen on Sept. 10.

State House News Service contributed to this report.

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