July 14 2020

Burlington Schools Release Update on Planning for Fall and Parent/Guardian Survey

By: Rich Hosford

One of the biggest questions right now is what to do about the upcoming school year and now the Burlington School Department wants to hear from parents and guardians about their thoughts on the situation. 


In a blog post the department explained that on Friday the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released information related to the reopening of schools. 


In one document, Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said all school districts should come up with a plan, due on Friday, July 31, that includes alternatives based on the spread of the coronavirus when reopening is scheduled to begin. 


“I am requiring districts to submit one reopening plan that will address health and safety requirements and different student learning models — in-person, hybrid, and remote learning,” he wrote. “The plan must also describe how special populations will be effectively served within each of the models.”


Despite wanting the different options, Commissioner Riley added that he thinks the main focus should be in-person education. 


“At this time, given the current low transmission rates of COVID-19 in the state, and pursuant to emergency regulations recently passed by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, we are asking districts and schools to prioritize in-person instruction,” he said. “Specifically, we have asked districts to focus on assessing the feasibility of bringing back students in-person, and those feasibility studies should be taking place in your districts now.” 


He also said he is requesting districts to hold off on releasing what final plans they come up with until at least early August. 


In the blog, Burlington school leaders said they understand that people are concerned about how the school year will begin and they are working hard to come up with a plan that will both facilitate education and prioritize safety. 


“We appreciate that there is anxiety about the start of the year,” they wrote. “No one knows for certain what the state of the virus will be in August … There are teams of administrators and teachers at every school who will be working through the different scenarios and developing questions that need to be answered and challenges that need to be addressed.” 



Department leaders added that the planning around reopening schools is being based on health experts and science. 


“This planning direction is based upon current public health data in Massachusetts, and is supported by the educational, medical, and public health communities,” the blog states. “However, given the nature of the health situation, we also know that this direction is subject to change based upon scientific and medical recommendations.”


They also ask parents and guardians to complete a survey with their thoughts on the reopening plan. They are also asking whether students would use bus transportation or purchase school lunches. 


You can find the survey at this link


“Thank you all for your patience and support, and if you have questions about our reopening planning, please send them to our dedicated email address at 2020schoolopening@bpsk12.org,” the blog post concludes. 


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