Charlie Baker, education experts want students in schools before second coronavirus surge strikes

State education officials are urging districts with low virus rates to get students back to class for in-person instruction now before a second surge of coronavirus afflicts the state.

“We know the possibility of a second spike exists, but while we are in a situation where a district has been green or gray for many weeks, we are asking districts to bring kids back to school in-person, or in a hybrid model,” education commissioner Jeffrey Riley said.

Only districts listed in red — or highest risk — on the Baker administration’s coronavirus risk map for three consecutive weeks should stick with remote-only learning, both Riley and Gov. Charlie Baker have said. There are currently 15 communities at the highest risk level.

“We think kids should be in school and think communities should be following the rules and guidance that was developed by the department and using the district-by-district data that

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Charlie Baker, school officials give update on education plans

Gov. Charlie Baker and education officials are giving an update after he defended a letter that the state’s top education official sent to 16 school districts, pushing them to come up with plans for in-person learning.

Charlie Baker wearing a suit and tie holding a flag: Gov. Charlie Baker with Commissioner Jefferey Riley on June 25, 2020

© Joshua Qualls/Governor’s Press Office
Gov. Charlie Baker with Commissioner Jefferey Riley on June 25, 2020

Jeffrey Riley, commissioner of the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, sent the letter last week to districts in communities with a low rate of COVID-19 spread that have started the school year without any in-person classes.

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Last month, Baker’s administration set an “expectation” that communities with low levels of spread, as tracked on the state’s weekly map, would bring students in to classes at least part time.

“Local officials run their local schools, we understand that, but the state has an obligation to ensure that local officials are providing the best

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