No School in Massachusetts Rest of School Year

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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has ordered all public and private schools in the state closed through the end of the school year.

The governor’s announcement during a press conference Tuesday, April 21 had been hinted at in recent days.

“It’s the right thing to do considering the facts on the ground associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. And at this point in time, there is no authoritative guidance or advisories with respect to how to operate schools safely, and how to get kids to and from schools safely. We believe students, therefore, cannot safely return to school, and avoid the risk of transmitting this virus to others,” Baker said.

The governor emphasized that students are supposed to be learning at home with the help of their teachers, using the Internet.

“As we’ve said before, closing the actual school buildings for the year does not mean it’s time to start summer vacation early,” Baker said. “We’re making this decision to allow school districts to plan through the end of the year offer remote learning for all students.”

Baker said he understands that some parents used to having their kids in school may have trouble juggling their jobs and their children’s distance learning.

“We know it’s not ideal, and we recognize we’re asking parents a lot to hang in there for the remainder of the school year,” Baker said.

Baker acknowledged that high school students – and especially seniors – may find the cancellation of the rest of the school year painful, because they will miss out on games, field trips, plays, proms, and graduation.

Baker initially on March 16 issued an executive order closing all schools through April 6. On March 25, he issued a new executive order closing schools through May 4.

Residential special education schools remain open, the governor said.

Baker has also extended the closing of non-emergency day-care centers until Monday, June 29.

Massachusetts currently has 523 child-care centers open serving about 2,500 children per week whose parents or guardians are health-care workers, first responders, or grocery store workers, among other essential functions, Baker said.

The state government is continuing to pay subsidies to child-care providers based on their enrollments before the coronavirus emergency began, the governor said.