After news last week that Boston Public Schools would delay re-opening for all students to return to classrooms in-person until April 26, City Councilor and mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell released the following statement pushing the Boston Public Schools to proactively invest in strategies to support school reopening in-person, address student learning loss and mental health, and use the summer to plan for a full in-person reopening for the next school year:
“With the deadline to reopen schools for all students just weeks away, it is incredibly frustrating that even with a year to plan for this moment, our district is still not ready. We knew that a return to classrooms would require significant facilities improvements and a hybrid approach, but due to a lack of preparation from BPS and the Administration, we are now facing a reality where many of our kids might not be back in schools this school year. The failure to make sufficient and adequate safety upgrades to school buildings, or find safe temporary locations — like for the Greenwood School in my district — or adequately engage parents in the reopening process, especially parents of color, is unacceptable.
It is devastating that Boston families continue to have to wait for the option of in-person learning, while kids in other schools and suburban communities are back. Every family in Boston should have the same in-person opportunities afforded to other families across the State, including by private schools right here in our city, along with a high-quality remote option for those who prefer it. Teachers should be offered more supports while attempting to do a hybrid model, and parents, especially our essential workers, greater support while attempting to do remote learning, all of which could be facilitated by the district through greater partnerships.
Simultaneously, we need to proactively and immediately address student learning loss and mental health concerns with investments in high-dosage tutoring, in-person summer learning programs, mental health counselors to support students and educators, and engage and stipend our educators and school leaders over the summer to create clear plans for a fully in-person reopening in the fall.”
Councilor Campbell recently filed an order for a hearing on Boston Public Schools’ plans for summer learning opportunities and planning for next school year. The hearing is tentatively scheduled for Monday, April 5.
In February, Campbell released a comprehensive education plan to address student learning loss during the pandemic, elevate the quality of all Boston Public Schools, and transform Boston Public Schools into a more equitable district so that every Boston student has access to an excellent public education and opportunities that will prepare them for success.