New guidelines place focus on physical return to school this fall

Jun 26, 2020 by

“As we all know, there is no substitute for the attention and engagement that is only possible with in person learning.”

The return to school is a summer away, but state education officials have released their initial guidelines for the fall with a clear goal in mind – bring back as many students to school in person as possible.

But school will look much different than it did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with masks required for students in grades 2 and up, and students separated into groups that don’t mix with other groups throughout the day.

Districts also have much planning and preparation ahead. While the goal is to have students physically in the school building, school officials will need to plan a “hybrid” model – having groups of students switch off between in-person and remote learning, either on certain days of the week or alternating every other week, as well as a plan for all-remote instruction.

The release of the initial state guidelines follows state officials sending out a plan earlier this month for schools on personal protective equipment and supplies required for this fall.

In-person learning hinges on whether Massachusetts’ COVID-19 cases continue to drop, as shown by recent data.

“Part of our responsibility as educators, administrators, and parents is to do all that we can to help our children in this difficult time,” Jeffrey Riley, the state’s Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, wrote in a letter accompanying the guidelines. “As we all know, there is no substitute for the attention and engagement that is only possible with in-person learning. We can mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19 for in-person school programs and prevent the significant consequences of keeping students out of school and isolated. It will take all of us working together to make this successful.”

While districts are urged to devise the multiple plans deemed necessary by the state, there should be “a focus first and foremost” on having students return to school in person, the guidelines say.

Returning to school in person is supported by infectious disease doctors and other “medical advisors” state officials worked with, according to the guidelines, and state officials believe that if the safety guidelines are followed “the risk of transmission in schools is likely lower than the risks of transmission in many other settings.”

Source: New guidelines place focus on physical return to school this fall | Boston.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Mary McGarr

    Does anyone else get the feeling that the “return to school” is more about control than education?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.