The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted in a meeting Friday afternoon to give Commissioner and Secretary to the Board Jeff Riley the ability to make school districts re-open schools on a full-time basis by an 8 to 3 vote.
Riley’s plan, which was released this week, would put elementary school students back in full in-person learning five days a week starting April 5.
Others would gradually be brought back to where all students would be full in-person in the fall, but an exact date has yet to be determined.
Riley went on to say that rates are going down and the vaccine rollout is going up.
Riley also stated in the meeting, through a study, that COVID-19 transmission rates were higher in the community than in the school system and that 3 foot social distancing did not increase transmission compared to 6 feet social distancing. Riley is in support of the 3 foot distancing guidance.
Riley said that parents will still have a choice for children to learn remotely through the end of the school year. Superintendents will be sending out a survey in the coming days at the elementary school level on whether students will attend school fully in-person or remotely.
Districts can also apply for waivers in a limited capacity.
Earlier in the day, the DESE postponed MCAS testing for children in 3rd to 8th grade.
MCAS testing for grades 3, 4, and 5 will take place between May 10 and June 11. Other grades are yet to be determined.