To the surprise of few educators, public and private school students will not be returning to their regular classrooms this year.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday at his daily press conference that schools are ordered to remain closed as the state continues to manage the spread of COVID-19. He said the measure does not apply to residential special education schools.
“This is a big decision,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do considering the facts on the ground associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Baker said the order is necessary for keeping students and their families safe, and for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The extension of the school shutdown won’t immediately affect the Gill-Montague Regional School District’s existing remote learning models, but it has pushed the district to think about the challenges it will face when things return to normal — educationally, socially and financially.
“We have to think about what school might look like in the fall,” said Superintendent Michael Sullivan. “Those are the conversations that we’ll start having now.”
The possibility of extending remote learning through the end of June was already written into the district’s memorandum of understanding with its staff, Sullivan said, so classes will continue as they have been.
Superintendent Jordana Harper said students will continue to use the district’s Remote Learning Plan for the rest of the year.
“GPS teachers and staff miss our students greatly and remain committed to supporting all of our students and families as best as possible,” she said in a letter posted to the district’s website. “We have worked hard to create curriculum to keep all students learning during school closure, and will continue this until we are able to ‘start strong’ and safely return students to school.”
Harper also advised students and guardians to keep their eyes peeled for updated information regarding what this will mean for important school events, such as graduation.
“We know that for many families, students and staff, this is a very challenging time,” she said.