U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Spike in Covid-19 cases prompts Boston schools to suspend in-person instruction

Oct. 21, 2020
Some students had been allowed to return to their classrooms three weeks ago.

Boston Public Schools is suspending all in-person learning effective Thursday as coronavirus trends continue to move in the “wrong direction.”

The Boston Herald reports that the city’s test-positivity rate has jumped more than a full percentage point over last week to 5.7%.

“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,” says Mayor Martin Walsh.

The decision to cancel in-person learning follows the release of new data from the Boston Public Health Commission.

Once the citywide seven-day Covid-19 positivity rate is at 5% or below for two consecutive weeks, high-needs students can return for in person learning.

Once that number is at or below 4% for two consecutive weeks, a phased return of other students can begin, started with the youngest learners.

“All BPS students will learn remotely until public health data shows a downward trend in positive Covid-19 cases,” School Superintendent Brenda Cassellius says.

Cassellius says she is “heartbroken” to deliver the news that students must stay home just one month into the school year and three weeks after the first students were welcomed back for in-person learning.

Boston students started the school year remotely on Sept. 21. Families were able to opt into a hybrid learning model, and some high-needs students were able to return for in-person learning on Oct. 1.

“We remain committed to proving in-person learning opportunities to our students as soon as it is safe to do so and will continue to prioritize our students with the highest needs for in-person learning,” Cassellius says.

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