Boston officials working with local schools on fall reopening plans are emphasizing parent choice in the process, while acknowledging that science will “drive the decision,” according to an updated draft of the public schools’ reopening plan.
School officials released the new guidelines — which still leave multiple models open for schools to adopt — on Saturday, a day after a deadline for all Massachusetts schools to file their school reopening plans with the department.
While the state required submissions for three possible plans, including a full return, full remote or hybrid version, Boston Public Schools removed a full in-person return from its document while acknowledging its openness to multiple models.
“There is no one solution that will work best for every student, every family, or every person who works with Boston Public Schools,” the plan states. “Recognizing and respecting that fact, the BPS Reopening Plan provides several learning model options for families to choose from in order to best meet the educational needs of their children.”
Some Boston city councilors on Saturday expressed frustration with the lack of a specific decision on how schools should reopen, according to The Boston Globe.
“I remain shocked and disappointed that we still do not have a decision on reopening, but instead have an 80-page document with no decisive plan,” said Councilor Andrea Campbell. “Every day the district delays this decision, we lose an opportunity to prepare our students for success and our community loses confidence that this school year will be safe and successful. Students and parents need a decision to plan their schedules [and] teachers to plan their classes.”
Getting students to school also remains a concern. Bus routes in the city, which are already elaborate in a more normal year, will be further complicated by new state rules that limit only one student to a seat, calling into question whether Boston will have enough buses to handle the capacity.
These questions come as students in Grades 1-12 are due to resume school on September 21, a date already pushed back by city school officials.
“I understand the urgency and appreciate the patience of our families and educators as we work to finalize our reopening plan to ensure it is thorough, thoughtful, and responsive to our community, and allows time for our families and staff to adequately prepare for a safe and successful school year,” Boston Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said in a statement Saturday.