Earlier today, Elementary and Secondary Commissioner Jeff Riley announced that efforts were being put in place to get more students back into classrooms soon. The announcement came in light of news that health metrics were improving and mitigation measures were being put in place across the state.

Riley joined Governor Charlie Baker and James Peyser, the state’s Education Secretary, in a press conference and said that he plans to take a “phased approach to returning students into the classrooms, working closely with state health officials and medical experts.” The process of returning more students to in-person education and physical school buildings begins in March, when he will ask members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to give him the authority to decide when hybrid and remote school models no longer count for learning hours.

“With COVID cases and hospitalizations on the decline, it’s time to set our sights on eliminating remote learning by April, starting with elementary schools,” Baker said.

Middle and high school students are planned to be phased in by the end of this school year. Parents will still be able to choose remote learning through the end of the school year, and there will be a waiver process for districts that need a more incremental approach, Riley said. Summer programs are also in the works to address learning loss and gaps that have taken place while students have been at home.