Boston public school students plan to get out of COVID and learn remotely – NBC Boston

A group of Boston Public School students have planned a strike Friday over COVID safety concerns, calling for a temporary return to remote learning. They also want more COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

The Boston Student Advisory Council, the protest’s organizing group, said it would begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday morning. Those who participate plan to spend the first hour calling and emailing state officials before giving speeches about their concerns.

They are demanding that the district be away for two weeks and have those days counted toward the state’s mandate of 180 days of in-person learning.

Boston students plan to walk out of class on Friday to call for a return to remote learning, to protect students and staff from the COVID outbreak.

The group is also calling for better personal protective equipment for their teachers. They also want a better testing and contact tracing system in place.

“This week, due to the cold day, my elementary student and anyone else who would usually get tested on Tuesday weren’t tested and they just haven’t rescheduled the tests in the midst of this huge surge,” said Bridget Colvin, a parent of three Boston Public Schools students.

Dr. Uché Blackstock looked at coronavirus prevention strategies such as mandatory mask ventilation, testing and vaccination rates before deciding to send them to New York public schools. “It’s a decision no parent should have to make, but here we have to make that decision,” Blackstock said.

Colvin, who is a member of a group called BPS Families for COVID safety, said she supports the student-led walkout.

“I wish BPS would start listening to students, teachers and families. We don’t always feel like we’re being heard,” Colvin said.

With more than 1,000 BPS staff still absent due to the surge, the district is making plans for school and classroom closures. The superintendent said remote learning is a last resort and they hope it doesn’t happen, and Mayor Michelle Wu has pushed for more flexibility on that front.

Gov. Charlie Baker stood firm in the state’s push for in-person learning on Monday as some Massachusetts schools delay the return of students from winter vacation amid COVID-19 concerns.

But Governor Charlie Baker made it clear this week that he was not budging on the distance learning ban.

“If school districts aren’t open at some point during the year, they can use snow days until they run out of snow days,” Baker said. “But they need to give their kids 180 days of in-person education this year. And we’ll do everything we can to help them get there.”

Last week, a Boston Latin student started a petition to bring back remote learning as an option for those who don’t feel safe. The petition now has nearly 7,500 signatures and some of the supporters plan to join the walkout.

On Thursday, the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released its latest report on COVID in Massachusetts schools. It showed more students tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week than in the previous two, continuing a strong upward trend in cases in schools.

Dogs trained to detect COVID-19 on surfaces are being used to help stop the spread of the virus.

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