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State Urges Schools To Take Advantage Of In-Person Window

The Baker administration on Thursday continued its drumbeat that schools in communities with low COVID-19 transmission rates should bring kids back into the classroom, as state and Quincy education officials joined the governor for a State House press conference.

Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley reiterated that the state is asking districts to make their decisions based on three weeks worth of data from the state's color-coded COVID-19 risk assessment model, which assigns the colors of green or gray to lower-risk areas.

"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," Riley said. "It would be unfortunate if later in the year a district had to go remote because the virus spiked back up in their community and they recognize 'Wow, we could have had our kids back on for a couple months, or maybe even six months.' "

Riley on Friday sent a letter to 16 remote-instruction districts in communities where the Department of Public Health deems the risk of COVID-19 spread to be low, asking them for a timeline of when they will provide in-person education.

On Wednesday, during a visit to Lowell, Baker said bringing kids into classrooms is "something we believe is critically important" and that public health data for most communities supports a return to school.

Baker on Thursday said Quincy's public schools provided "an excellent model of how to safely and responsibly get back to school" under state guidelines.

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