April 21 2020

Gov. Baker Closes Schools for Rest of Academic Year

By: Rich Hosford

Students in Massachusetts will not be returning to school this academic year. 


Governor Charlie Baker announced on Tuesday that he is closing all schools in the state until at least next fall. 


“It’s the right thing to do considering the facts on the ground associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Baker said. “And at this point in time there is authoritative guidance or advisories in respect to how to operate schools safely or how to get kids to and from schools safely. We believe students, therefore, cannot safely return to school and avoid the risk of transmitting this virus to others.” 


He said that while schools are closed remote learning will continue and the state will provide additional resources to educators and students to help accommodate learning from home.  


“As we’ve said before closing the actual school buildings for the year does not mean it’s time to start summer vacation early,” he continued. “We’re making this decision to allow school districts to plan through the end of the year to offer remote learning for all students. This includes students with special needs and English language learners.” 


Baker said he understands the situation has upended the lives of many students. 


“Being away from their friends, their teachers, their sports and other important resources has been a tremendous loss,” he said. “School administrators, principals and teachers have worked hard to create curriculums and materials to help their students keep learning from home under these very difficult circumstances.” 


The governor said he also understands the schools being closed is difficult for many parents as well. 


“Remote learning means parents have to juggle their own job whether it’s working from home or still making their shifts while helping their kids stay focused on school,” Gov. Baker said. “We know it’s not ideal and we recognize we’re asking parents a lot to hand in there for the remainder of the school year.” 


Burlington Public Schools also weighed in on the situation in a blog post. 


“Please know that we have continued to develop a plan behind the scenes to help us address how we can support ongoing learning during this health crisis which has drastically altered life for all of us,” school leaders said. 


They also talked about the state and district priorities for remote learning.  


“In regards to remote learning, [Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] Commissioner Riley is not following federal recommendations to push forward in state curricula,” the post reads. “The priority in Massachusetts will continue to be on connecting with students and deepening our instruction on standards that have already been covered. The state will publish more guidance at the end of the week to identify a few ‘essential or power standards’ at each grade level. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education wants to ensure students have familiarity with these standards by the end of the year, if they have not covered this material already.”


The blog states that in Burlington the current remote learning plan will remain in effect until May 8. There will be a modified plan for it from May 8 through the end of the academic year. 


The blog post ends with a word about high school seniors and other students in transition. 


“Finally, we know there will continue to be questions about end-of-year activities for high school seniors and other annual transition activities for both middle and elementary students,” school leaders said. “Please know that we are working on resolutions for all of these situations and that we will continue to share plans as they are finalized.”




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