Gov. Baker and DESE Releases School Reopening Guidelines for the Fall

Last week Governor Charlie Baker’s office and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released their initial guidance about reopening schools this fall.

According to Baker’s office and DESE 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. 

The new guidelines include preventive measures like masks/face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing, 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 also recommended for students in Grade 1 and below but not required 

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

According to Revere Public School Superintendent Dianne Kelly 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.

“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’ academic, social, and emotional needs,” said Kelly. “We also applaud the Commissioner’s attention to the need for additional funding. Over the coming days, we will be reviewing the guidance to begin to understand how it impacts what we can do in Revere. We also acknowledge that these initial guidelines do not address every topic and that there will be additional guidance coming throughout the summer.”

Kelly said based upon the current medical situation, the expectation today is that Revere students will return to full in-person instruction in September.

“However, that is subject to change based upon how the medical situation develops,” said Kelly. “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.”

Kelly is asking parents and teachers to read the full state document at http://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/return-toschool/guidance.docx and share any suggestions, questions or concerns with Revere Public Schools.

“We collected a great deal of feedback from parents and teachers at our Virtual Town Hall last Tuesday,” said Kelly. “We will be sharing a summary of that meeting and collecting more information through our parent and staff surveys about returning to school which will be sent by email the week of July 6 . We will also be looking for parents, staff, and students to serve on our Planning and Implementation teams as described in the commissioner’s guidance.”

If you are interested in that work you can send an email with your name, relationship to the school department and which part of the work you would like to help with to [email protected]

In a statement from the Massachusetts Parents United founding president Keri Rodrigues was proud to have five of its parent members participating in the state’s Return to School Working Group to help bring the important perspective of parents in several Gateway Cities like Revere to the table.  

“While the recommendations issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) did not address all of the needs and concerns of parents and families, we do feel that some progress has been made,” said Rodrigues. “We are grateful that the perspective of families of color, families who are English Language Learners, and families of color with children with special needs were included in these conversations where we could demand these guidelines be based in equity for all children.”

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