BPS shifts to remote learning for all students

Boston Public Schools officials announced Wednesday that all students will shift to remote learning effective Thurs., Oct. 22 due to a rising covid-19 positive test rate citywide, which reached 5.7 percent this week, up from last week's 4.5 percent.

Students will remain in remote learning until the citywide average percent of infection rate decreases over two consecutive weeks.

“We have said all along that we will only provide in-person learning for students if the data and public health guidance supports it, and this new data shows that we are trending in the wrong direction,” Mayor Walsh said in a statement.

“We will continue to monitor the metrics and work towards our goal of welcoming students back into our classrooms, learning among their peers, supported and educated by our dedicated staff.”

Officials said in their announcement that the decision was made in consultation with public health officials and in reviewing data that has shown two weeks of increased confirmed positive cases across the entire city.

“I am heartbroken that today we have to close our doors to our highest need students. Our families are desperate for these services for their children, many of whom are non-verbal and unable to use technology in the home. We will work with the Boston Teachers Union and remain committed to providing in-person learning opportunities to our students as we are able, as we continue to prioritize our students with the highest needs for in-person learning,” Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said in a statement.

"I look forward to the broader Boston community doing its part in complying with the public health guidance and helping us bring this infection rate down so we can open our doors. We need your help. Our children are depending on all of us."

If the citywide seven-day covid-19 positivity rate is at 5 percent or below for two consecutive weeks, students with the highest needs will have the option to return to in-person learning; and if it dips below 4 percent for two consecutive weeks, BPS will restart the phased return of students for in-person learning, beginning with the youngest students. The district will provide fully remote learning for all families that choose it.

BPS officials said that schools will assist families who may need to pick up technology or other personal items students may have left at school, and that the district is exploring options for providing services for students with disabilities and will update families with more information in the coming days.