Boston unveils tentative plan to resume in-person learning
Posted January 11, 2021 5:30 p.m. EST
Updated January 11, 2021 5:31 p.m. EST
BOSTON — Boston schoolchildren will return to the classroom starting next month using a four-phase hybrid model announced Monday, under a tentative agreement reached by school officials and the city's teachers union.
“The best learning environment for our students is in their classrooms, with their peers, under the care of our educators and staff. This agreement charts the course for the rest of the school year and establishes a safe return to in-person learning for additional students and staff,” said Superintendent Brenda Cassellius in a statement.
The plan starts with high-priority students — including those with disabilities — returning on Feb. 1, and concludes with high school students resuming in-person classes the week of March 29.
The system currently has about 2,000 high-needs students learning in person.
Under the hybrid system, students will learn in-person two days a week, and remotely three days. Whether a student returns to school remains up to parents or guardians.
The plan includes providing air purifiers in classrooms, offices and common areas; increased air quality testing and reporting; additional personal protective equipment for students and staff; and free onsite or nearby COVID-19 testing.
“Achieving this systemwide framework for health, safety, and staffing protocols will help us do so with essential protections for students, families, educators, and administrators alike," Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang said in a statement.
VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS
The number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths rose by 54 on Monday while the number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 soared by more than 4,200.
The new deaths pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 12,929 and its confirmed caseload since the start of the pandemic to more than 417,500.
The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.
There were more than 2,200 people reported hospitalized Monday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 450 in intensive care units.
The average age of those hospitalized was 73.
The number of probable or confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported in long-term care facilities rose to 7,614.
FIRST RESPONDER VACCINATIONS
Thousands of police officers, firefighters and other first responders in Massachusetts are getting their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Monday.
About 60 sites have been set up around the state to vaccinate an estimated 45,000 people over several weeks, state officials said.
The city of Worcester has turned its senior center into a mass vaccination site for first responders from the city as well as the surrounding communities of Shrewsbury, Millbury, Leicester, Holden, Grafton and West Boylston.
Police officers, firefighters, EMS personnel from public and private ambulance companies, and others will be given their first dose.
To make sure there are enough qualified people to administer the vaccines, students in UMass Medical School’s Graduate School of Nursing spent Saturday training more than 160 medical school students in intermuscular injection.
The state so far has limited vaccinations to medical professionals and nursing home residents.
Seventeen arts and culture organizations founded by and serving Boston’s Black, indigenous and people of color populations are sharing $450,000 in COVID-19 relief grants, the mayor’s office announced Monday.
The organizations receiving the $25,000 unrestricted grants are directly involved in supporting artists, including youth artists, to create and present new work, according to a statement.
The program is a collaboration between the city, the Boston Foundation and the Barr Foundation.