As coronavirus rates continue to grow across the country, Massachusetts has introduced new restrictions regarding travel and isolation. However, a recent spike in cases has many worried about what will happen when schools are due to reopen in the fall. Here’s everything we know so far.
While plans depend on the school district in question, Boston Public Schools will likely take on a hybrid model — there are all-remote and all-in-person contingency plans, but the latter has seemingly already been rejected by Mayor Marty Walsh. The hybrid model would see half of the class in school for Monday and Tuesday, with the rest learning remotely, and the groups would then switch for Thursday and Friday. This plan will take into consideration parents who want to opt-out of in-school learning, and will leave classrooms better prepared if the pandemic takes a turn for the worse.
Colleges and universities will lay out their own plans, and while none have yet announced identical approaches, most of the largest schools, including Harvard, and UMass Boston, will move their classes mostly online.
The reopening plans have drawn criticism, but scientific experts still remain uncertain as to how easily COVID-19 can spread through schools. Young people are more likely to be asymptomatic, or only exhibiting mild symptoms, so data claiming children are less likely to transmit the virus is difficult to trust. Elsewhere in the country, school districts are considering outdoor classes, which has historic precedent; when the tuberculosis outbreak happened at the start of the 20th century, classes were moved outside, even in the harsh New England winter.
The summaries of back-to-school plans are due this Friday in Massachusetts. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.