State wants elementary students back in classrooms by April – Boston News, Weather, Sports – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-02-23 20:28:57 –

The state school board said in April that elementary school students would be part of a plan to phase out distance learning announced by authorities on Tuesday as Massachusetts approaches the first anniversary of its first school closure in March 2020. I want to return to the classroom full time. Popularization of COVID-19.

The announcement is hit by a swift backlash from the state’s largest teachers union, which has called for early access to educators’ vaccines, and the school committee, which said decisions to reopen would be best handled at the local level. I was vaccinated.

According to Governor Charlie Baker, most schools (about 80% of the district) have reintroduced at least some face-to-face learning over the past year, relying on protocols such as wearing masks and distance. He said the rest of the district, which teaches entirely in remote areas, serves about 400,000 students.

“Most of them haven’t been in the classroom since March last year,” Baker said. “With COVID cases and hospitalizations continuing to decline and vaccination going well, we aim to abolish distance learning and start in primary school by April. The district is acceptable as the federation advances. We need a clear direction for what is counted as study time. “

Commissioner Jeff Riley Told the members Members of the Elementary and Secondary Education Board will ask them next month for authority to determine when hybrid and remote school models will no longer count in study time.

Riley said he would pursue a step-by-step approach, focusing first on elementary school and then on the upper grades, with the goal of bringing as many children back into the classroom by the end of this year.

He worked closely with state health authorities and health care professionals, saying parents still have the option to choose distance learning for their children until the end of the year.

According to Riley, there is also an exemption process for districts that may need to move in more stages, and an immediate transition to a fully face-to-face format would be: Here is an example of a completely remote district. “Hard lift”.

“At some point, as health indicators continue to improve, we need to remove the remote and hybrid learning models from the table and revert to the traditional school format,” Riley told the board.

Reopening schools and conversations about different learning models balance a variety of factors, including virus transmission, student social and emotional development, and the district’s ability to adapt existing school buildings to pandemic distances. Has been active over the past few months, including. Ventilation protocols, the need for parenting of working parents, and impartiality issues that arise when some districts are unable to return to face-to-face learning.

In Massachusetts, teachers are not yet able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. They are part of the next group to qualify and school staff are seeking early prioritization. Citing comments from White House officials, Riley said educator vaccination is one of the key mitigation strategies, but not a prerequisite for returning to school.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, vaccinated teachers and school staff “can be seen as one layer of mitigation and protection.”

The· CDC Guidance “Two mitigation strategies need to be prioritized,” said schools that provide face-to-face instruction. This means wearing a “universal and correct” mask by all students, teachers and staff, and maximizing the physical distance “as much as possible” by at least 6 feet.

The Massachusetts Department of Primary and Secondary Education Guidance uses a minimum distance of 3 feet if masking and all other mitigations are implemented in accordance with World Health Organization standards, and 6 feet if possible. Distance is recommended.

“We’re sticking to the 3-foot guidance. If you can do more, do it,” Riley said on Tuesday. “What I’ve seen here in Massachusetts is that there are districts that currently operate at 3 feet and special education programs that operate at 3 feet. Anecdotally, the difference between 3 feet and 6 feet is I couldn’t see it. Feet. “

Mary Najimy, President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, said Video interview She also said on WBZ-TV that vaccinations for educators were “invisible.”

“Performing full face-to-face learning contradicts the science of six feet of distance, so what the commissioner is doing is waving a magic wand and saying that the problem has been solved, then unilateral authority. It’s about implementing and abusing the decisions of all school committees, “she says. Said.

Massachusetts School Commission Association statement Its members work with state authorities “to stimulate confidence that decisions will be made for the safety of students and school staff and to provide a rational framework for returning students to school in a swift manner.” I want to do it.

“Most parents want to see their children return to direct instruction, but we keep in mind that vaccination, school-wide safety, and budget issues remain.” Said the statement. “These decisions should be in the hands of those who oversee individual schools and school districts: the school’s superintendent and school committees in consultation with parents and community members.”

Ed Lambert, Secretary-General of the Massachusetts Education Business Alliance, praised Riley’s plans as “an important step in ensuring equal educational opportunities” and “actively study in a safe time and place.” I need to. “

“A significant amount of federal funding helps both to help schools open and to develop strategies to deal with student learning losses,” Lambert said. “Nearly a billion dollars of federal bailouts are already available in schools, which could increase federal funding. For students, including taking advantage of all the penny of that money to bring them back to school. You need to do the best. “

Before Riley announced his plans to board members, the panel heard during a public comment session from Dr. Shira Delon, an infectious disease doctor and epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center.

From his experience managing COVID-19 infection prevention in hospitals and providing guidance to federal courts and local schools, mitigation protocols such as masking, distance, hygiene, surface disinfection, and staying at home in case of illness are effective. He said it turned out to be the target. “There is widespread consensus in the medical community that students need to be returned to school,” she said.

“When it comes to risks such as COVID-19 and infectious diseases, the risk at school is never zero,” she said. “When it comes to risk tolerance, we need to change our mindset. The risk at school is low. The risk to children from school absence is increasing.”

(Copyright (c) 2020 State Capitol News Agency.

State wants elementary students back in classrooms by April – Boston News, Weather, Sports Source link State wants elementary students back in classrooms by April – Boston News, Weather, Sports

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