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BOSTON (CBS) – Most elementary school students in Massachusetts will return to class Monday morning for full time, in-person learning.
With some exceptions, all elementary schools are required to return to in-person learning April 5. The state has granted 58 school districts waivers, including Boston and Worcester, to start at a later date.
Schools have had to adjust schedules for social distancing and add desks to classrooms, now just three feet apart instead of six to meet updated state guidelines.
There is concern about an increase in COVID cases in schools across the state. As of last week, there were 1,045 in total, including 801 students and 244 staff. It’s the fourth week in a row school cases have risen.
“In my opinion, nothing is zero risk, but the risk of opening the schools and doing it with the appropriate mitigation strategies, the risks of that are less than the consequences of keeping kids out of school,” said Dr. Christina Hermos, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
Dr. Hermos is basing that opinion on models around the world that have opened schools safely during the pandemic, including some in Massachusetts.
“The rule of thumb should be schools should be the last to close and the first to open. Over and over we’re seeing that not happening. We’re walking by crowded restaurants and gyms. It’s really time to stop punishing the kids for a disease that they are not the drivers of,” Dr. Hermos told WBZ-TV.
Parents do have the option to keep their children home learning remotely for the rest of the school year.
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