Framingham Schools, Health Board To Discuss Fall Reopening

FRAMINGHAM, MA — The Framingham School Committee and the Board of Health will meet on July 15 to begin talks on how to safely reopen schools this fall with coronavirus still lurking in Massachusetts.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on June 25 released a long-awaited plan for sending students back to school amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the plan is only advisory, with DESE leaving school districts across the state to create individualized reopening plans.

DESE is asking each district by August to submit three plans for reopening: one for a complete return to in-person learning; a second for a hybrid of in-person and remote learning; and a 100 percent remote learning plan.

But districts across the state are cautious about a full return to school due lingering questions about coronavirus — like how it spreads among young people, and how quickly a vaccine will be available. Many colleges in Massachusetts are either going entirely online, or holding just a few on-campus classes. Only about 30 percent of Framingham State University classes will be available in person when the fall semester starts.

“Nothing would make me happier than to provide a complete, detailed, and final FPS reopening plan so that families and staff can prepare for the start of a new school year,” Superintendent Robert Tremblay said in a news release. “The reality is that such a plan is not possible at this time with the ever-changing science that surrounds COVID-19 and with constantly shifting guidance from the DESE.”

READ: Your Questions Answered About School Reopening In MA

Framingham schools shut down for the remainder of the school year in mid-March. The district did provide laptops to students for remote learning. Summer school is proceeding remotely this year.

The July 15 joint meeting will cover the coronavirus reopening plan, but also factors like flu season, Eastern equine encephalitis, and the availability of COVID-19 testing. The meeting will be held remotely via Zoom.

This article originally appeared on the Framingham Patch

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