State officials say they want to have all elementary students back in the classroom five days a week by April.

With health metrics improving across Massachusetts schools, Elementary and Secondary Commissioner Jeff Riley says it's time to begin the process of getting more students back into classrooms and his goal is to make that happen by the month of April.

This morning Rielly informed the  Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that he plans to ask them in March to give him the authority to determine when hybrid and remote school models no longer count for learning hours, as part of a broader plan to return more students to physical school buildings.

Riley continued by saying he would take a "phased approach to returning students into the classrooms, working closely with state health officials and medical experts." He said his plan would focus on elementary school students first, with the initial goal of having them learning in-person five days a week this April.

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He told the board he would then plan to phase in middle and high school students by the end of this school year.

"We are starting to see case rates come down again. About half of our schools have pool testing available for students and staff. The vaccine rollout is in process, warmer weather is on the horizon. We continue to see in-person instruction being delivered safely across the Commonwealth and many districts are starting to bring back students as the numbers continue to improve. This is especially true in the elementary school level and it continues to be vital that we get as many students back in-person as possible, preferably before the end of the year," Riley via WesternMass News 

Parents of students of all ages would still be able to choose remote learning for their child through the end of the year and there would be a waiver process for districts that might need a more incremental approach.

 

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