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Boston, teachers reach deal to re-open all schools on a 'hybrid' schedule

Boston Public Schools and the Boston Teachers Union today announced a deal by which all BPS schools would start re-opening for some students next month, with all kids returning to schools for part of their weeks by April 1.

Parents would have the option to keep their children home for the rest of the school year without penalty, however.

The agreement, under which BPS agreed to limit the total number of kids in a school at one time and to install air purifiers in classrooms in schools without decent ventilation systems, would start Feb. 1, with the return of all high-needs students to their schools. Currently, only 32 BPS schools are open to these students.

On March 1, some K-3 students would return to a "hybrid" schedule, in which they will spend part of the week in school, the rest doing remote learning from home, followed by the rest on March 4. Students in grades 4-8 would then return March 15 or March 18, followed by students in grades 9-12 on March 29 and April 1.

In addition to limiting the number of students in a building at one time and air purifiers, the city also agreed to provide Covid-19 testing to teachers either at their schools or nearby, to expand a pilot student Covid-19 test system and provide additional PPE for staffers and students.

Officials said the re-opening schedule could be delayed by as much as two weeks depending on public-health concerns. Boston had originally hoped to re-open schools in October, then delayed that due to rising Covid-19 numbers across the city, except for some high-needs students, then just shut all schools again before re-opening some for high-needs students.

In a statement, BTU President Jessica Tang said:

Achieving this system-wide framework for health, safety, and staffing protocols will help us do so with essential protections for students, families, educators, and administrators alike. This framework adopts important safety standards that union educators have been advocating for on a system-wide basis in order to protect the learning experience and health of not just our high-needs students, but of all students, educators, and families throughout Boston and beyond


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The original hybrid plan was contingent on the city's COVID positivity rate being under 4%. Is that no longer the case? Or are they hoping it will go down that much by March/April? (I'm not sure what it is right now--the last percentage I heard was 8.8%, though.)

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With parents. As we approach those date, they’ll push back.

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The city started to count rates differently than what was originally agreed upon.

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Under 5%......then they changed the metrics, then they moved the goal posts. I understand the want and need to "get the kids back to normal" but nothing about the way the kids are going to go back under these conditions would be considered "normal." BPS had the mindset around Thanksgiving that they were going to "re-open" and they did some schools - but with the rates skyrocketing they have had to hold off. Hopefully things will be better by then - but there are a good amount of BPS schools that will be reopening Feb 1 - much sooner than the article states.

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Maybe Charlie Baker changed the color codes again and put the city back in the green?

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I think it's possible, if not likely, that as vaccination roll-out picks up steam, positivity rates will drop down over the next 6-10 weeks. Teachers are a tier 2 category so mostly should be vaccinated by then. Youth have so far seemed to have less on-going issues with coivd than adults as well so now is the time to plan for a return to schools seeing as they can always defer the re-opening if rates aren't acceptable in March.

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I'm really happy that you think it's ok for *other* people to get in harms way. Do you go out to eat at restaurants in a hybrid situation where everyones handing you an unsanitary menu?

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From City of Boston today...
The current #COVID19 positivity rate in Boston is now 8.9%. Please help us #SlowTheSpread:

-stay home as much as possible
-always wear a face mask in public
-keep your distance from others
-wash your hands often, and
-get tested.

Learn more: boston.gov/covid19

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Trains packed with schoolkids and crazy adults not wearing masks riding in a steel box is the definition of a super spreader.

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So MA is touting this as saying they are doing an excellent job, while at the same time talking about how cases and deaths are spiking and we need to do more.?
Almost all our excess deaths happened back in the first lockdown, and were largely due to medical error, over-use of ventilators and of course, the big elephant in the room, nursing home gaffes.

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The union does not have to have a teacher in classrooms, teachers do not want to be in the classroom. Everyone needs to be on the same page. The financial district has no plans to open up the majority of businesses(yet).
The only reason teachers are getting knocked back in is that the parents have good representation. They don't want their high needs kids at home. If their kids didn't cut* on the first go-round, these parents will on this one. They Have a constant voice on NPR, The Boston Globe, and city hall, this put the press on the superintendent who didn't protect her teachers when there's a pandemic.

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