June 25 2020

State Issues Fall School Guidelines that Require Distancing and Masks

By: Rich Hosford

The much-anticipated guidance from the state on school reopenings this fall has been delivered and at this time it looks like schools will be open this September though most students and all faculty will be required to wear masks. 

“Today, Governor Baker’s office and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released their initial guidance about reopening schools this fall,” Superintendent Eric Conti said in a letter. “We applaud the level of thought and care that went into the development of this guidance, and share its goal of the safe return of as many students as possible to in-person school settings in order to best meet students’ social, emotional and academic needs.”

Superintendent Conti said that over the next two weeks, the administration will be reviewing the guidance to begin to understand how it impacts what they can do in Burlington. He also acknowledged that these initial guidelines do not address every topic and that there will be additional guidance coming throughout the summer.  You can read the full document can be found here, but here are some key components:

- Current medical research supports a safe in-person return to school - with preventive measures in place - as infection and transmission rates are lower for children than adults.

- Preventive measures include masks/face coverings, physical distancing, hand washing, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces

- Masks/face coverings will be required for all students in Grade 2 and above and for all adults; they are recommended for students in Grade 1 and below

- Based upon current medical research, and in conjunction with other preventive measures, a minimum physical distance of three feet has been established

Districts will need to develop three separate plans - one for return to full in-person instruction with safety requirements, one for full remote learning, and one for hybrid learning that combines in-person and remote learning. Based upon the current medical situation, the expectation today is that students will return to full in-person instruction in September; however, that is subject to change based upon how the medical situation develops.

“We acknowledge that there are likely to be more questions than answers at this time, and we will continue to communicate with you in the coming weeks and months,” Conti said. 

He said that if anyones has questions, send them to the department’s dedicated email address at 2020SchoolOpening@bpsk12.org.  

“We are using feedback we received from families, faculty, and students to shape our plans moving forward,” Conti wrote. “We are also committed to future meetings where these same groups can comment.”


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