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Judge refuses to block in-person classes in Boston

Oct. 15, 2020
The teachers union, arguing that the coronavirus infection rate was too high, sought an injunction to stop the Boston district from holding in-person instruction.

A judge has denied the Boston Teachers Union's request for an order that would have allowed teachers in the Boston district to work from home if they want to amid high levels of coronavirus transmission.

NBC Boston reports that Suffolk Superior Court Judge Robert Gordon ruled that it was in the public's interest to get teachers and students back in the classroom.

"In these circumstances, the court finds the injunction sought by [the union] is not consonant with the public interest," he wrote.

Earlier this month, Boston officials delayed plans to reopen schools in the city because the coronavirus positivity rate hit 4%.

But the 1,300 highest-need students, who returned to class earlier this month, are still learning in-person if their parents so choose.

The union sought an injunction to stop in-person classes, claiming the city wasn't standing by an agreement to move to remote learning if the coronavirus infection rate rose above 4%. 

Although the agreement states that teachers have the option of working remotely when the Covid positivity rate tops 4%, they are expected to return to buildings when authorities say it's safe to reopen, according to the city.

The union says it will continue to pressure the school district and the city to keep teachers safe.

"Safe staffing ratios and reducing the viral footprint are still possible with or without an injunction if the district works with us to formulate the safest possible plan," read part of a union statement.

Preschoolers and kindergartners who were supposed to report to school the week of Oct. 15 are now scheduled to start Oct. 22 instead. Grades 4 through 8 are slated to transition to a hybrid model the week of Nov. 5, and grades 9 through 12 the week of Nov. 16.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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