Boston Public Schools has reached an agreement with the Boston Teachers Union to try to bring all students back to schools in-person by April 1. The agreement calls for phasing in groups of students for hybrid learning, starting with high needs students in February and the youngest grades beginning in March.
Thirty-two schools are currently open for in-person learning, serving students the district has identified as the highest priority, including some students with disabilities, English language learners, students experiencing homelessness, and students who are in the care of the state Department of Children and Families.
The state has been leaning on districts like Boston to bring more students back into classrooms. The district had rolled back to fully remote in October, citing rising coronavirus cases, and has been phasing back in students identified as high need since November.
Under the agreement, if the city’s Covid-19 positivity rate stays above 5 percent for two consecutive weeks, the city will provide free weekly Covid testing to union members who consistently report to work.
If the positivity rate is above 10 percent for two weeks, the union can ask to go back to the bargaining table with district officials.
The previous agreement stated that if the citywide positivity rate went above 4 percent, the district would go back to fully remote learning for students. A judge sided with district officials in a dispute that the Boston Public Schools had violated that agreement and ignored the threshold.
According to the Boston Public Health Commission, the city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 8.9 percent, as of Monday.