BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Wednesday that all schools in the state will be closed through the end of April due to coronavirus.

Schools, which had been ordered to close through April 6, will now open no sooner than May 4.

“This will provide school districts to provide the best possible opportunities for remote learning for all students,” Baker said. “This is not an extended school vacation. During this long-term closure the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will work with school districts to further develop educational programming students can use at home. This way schools can plan for the return of students in May.”

The state will be sending out guidance to school districts on Thursday.

Districts will be expected to implement new remote learning plans by early April.

“Our advice in the beginning is we recognize this is a traumatic time for our kids. We want to get them settled, and then we want to get them in a routine. We’re going to be providing guidance tomorrow about what that routine could look like,” said Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley

Baker said his administration is partnering with WGBH to launch online educational research for kids across Massachusetts.

Riley said schools will have to get creative with how they educate students. But he said this presents a unique opportunity.

“I think only time is going to tell on what happens. This could be an amazing opportunity to think differently about how we educate our kids, and think about real world applications, using social distancing of course,” said Riley.

Riley and Baker stressed that school work can be done on the computer, but also with project-based lessons such as learning to cook or planting a garden as examples.

“If people really choose to embrace this, and it’s not easy, there’s an opportunity here to do some very different things with respect to encouraging and educating kids. And we certainly hope that ends up being where this goes,” Baker said.

Riley acknowledged that not all students may have access to the internet, and they will not be punished for not having that resource.

“We think that districts should use whatever they have at their availability to get out to kids. But we want to make sure we don’t penalize any children who don’t have access to the internet,” Riley said.

When asked about testing requirements for students, Riley said he will have to wait to see if Massachusetts receives the federal waiver it applied for, and wait to see if state legislation set up Tuesday will grant him the authority to make a decision. Once those hurdles are cleared, Riley said he will have a decision “in short order” about MCAS testing.

As of Wednesday, there are 1,838 cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts. Fifteen people have died in the state as a result.

Comments (15)
  1. Mell says:

    This governor disgusts me, as a mother of two daughters, he disgusts me, my vote will not be with him and I am sure that most parents that have children without so much as a stuffy nose with jobs that they will lose because of people like him with a home that they own and a guaranteed job will not vote for him in the future.

  2. TamTam says:

    I share your disgust Mell, This ridiculous “leader” does not care, he is not a doctor, hasn’t followed the words of his own leader, instead he chose to go with what he wanted and open an entire month afterward giving the excuse that teachers need to prepare and students can learn online, Governor, have you considered that most low income homes do not have wifi in their homes, that you are halting middle class families from providing for their kids, increasign the amount of kids that will face neglect when their parents have to return to work when they do not have school, you are asking parents to choose between neglect by going out to work or to lose their homes, good luck with all of the piled up applications for homeless families, DHCD which is already overwhelmed, and the backed up RAFT programs that you referenced in your speech, you’ve clearly never been turned away when applying for assistance and told to bring in paperwork that will take you months to acquire, you’ve never been told that you don’t qualify for assistance because your tax return from a previous year indicate that you are earning to much to utilize assistance, or have had children crying because they want to understand a math concept in their homework packet sent home by their teacher that I was never taught in school. You’ve never had to look for spare change in your home to afford groceries, cry yourself to sleep because you don’t know if your landlord is going to increase your rent $200 for being 3 days late (yes we know it’s illegal, but each time we say illegal we are penalized informally by our landlord). You’ve lost my vote.

  3. Mia says:

    I think you guys are missing the point. People are DYING. DYING. DEATH GALORE! We can’t take kids to school and let adults go to work because THEY WILL DIE! Kids who get it will SPREAD IT. I understand the pain for people who don’t have the resources. I get that. However, people are dying and we can’t send people to their deaths.

    1. Scott says:

      If you look at the statistics The virus simply isn’t a big danger to well over 90% of the population. However the danger of an extended shutdown to the economy and the resulting fallout from it will endanger many more lives. Read about the mortality rates during the Great Depression for reference, where 7 million out of 123 million US citizens perished. Based on those figures we could lose 18.6 million people to another depression, many of them children. The economic package just passed is an absolute joke. $1200 isn’t even half a month’s rent in the greater Boston area. Don’t take my word for it, instead go read the position of John Ioannidis, a Harvard educated physician & scientist who is head of epidemiology at Stanford School of Medicine. He specializes in the control of infectious disease and it is his professional opinion that the government is overreacting to this virus without enough data and that the economic ramifications of an extended shutdown will cause far more death than the virus itself. This is one of those cases where the cure may very well be worse than the disease.

  4. emotys says:

    Wow, Mell, way to do your part for the greater good. I didn’t realize there were still people who don’t understand the concept of flattening the curve. Have you seen Italy? Have you seen how NYC is trending?

    I’m sure there will be plenty of candidates in the next gubernatorial election who will say that we shouldn’t have locked down. LOL. You can vote for one of them.

    I wish you the best. This certainly isn’t easy. But sometimes the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few.

  5. Don't Panic, It's Just Money and Politics says:

    He’s locking up the teachers vote. Put the pressure on our sub-par schools. Get the lazy teachers union to get the teachers in gear to start teaching remotely. What the F are our taxes for???

  6. Mary Martin says:

    RIDICULOUS! What about the young elementary grade students? They need teaching by teachers in a classroom. They will not learn on computers !!, As an elementary teacher for many years, I can assure you you of this. Obviously , Baker knows nothing about educating young children. This may work for some “advanced“ Jr. and Sr. school students , but what about the rest of the “average” students (majority of students) ?? !!

    1. Linda says:

      Mary, everything will be fine. Students will learn on computers. You apparently have evidence that kids won’t learn on computers. Can you share that with us? There are plenty of examples online of teachers right now doing a great job teaching elementary age kids online. The year is 2020 and we have amazing technology and it can be done. With all due respect, you mention you’ve been an elementary teacher for many years, so I suspect you are “old school.” New things can be scary for people. I get it. I completed a masters degree online. It’s not difficult. My daughter’s college classes are now online. I have a son with autism who attends a special college program at the local community college…his classes are now online. If a child with autism can learn online, I think mainstream students will learn just fine.

  7. Owen says:

    Best governor of all the states! I am so proud of MA governor. Kids learn plenty on line. The teachers’ support is terrific. There are so many useful and great educational platforms available.
    Kids have plenty of books to read as well. All normal parents are able to support their kids’ leaning process at home. You can’t buy health. But you save millions of lives by keeping the kids at home.

  8. Heather says:

    May 4th? Isn’t this a bit premature? Could it be that this was decided following President Trump’s hope that the economy would reopen by Easter? The middle school kids here are given a few problems every day and that’s it. They’re hardly learning. The teachers should be forced to have online classes every day.

    1. Sam says:

      Have you seen any recent graphs and charts? Do you understand exponential growth? Based purely on math alone (and we have advance algorithm softwares to predict this), the virus will spread and likely infect 60-80% of Americans during its peak (look up Imperial College, who has advised governments before on its response to previous epidemics, including SARS, avian flu and swine flu). We have to social distance if we want our lives to go back to normal. We have to take extreme mitigated measures now so this does not create the same disaster as it did in Italy. Kids will be okay without school temporarily. in the GRAND scheme of things and bigger picture, having kids miss out on a few months of school will not make them less smart, and it might actually save a lot of people’s lives. What we could do moving forward, is to be informed, so we don’t elect leadership and Presidents who did not take any precautionary actions beforehand. Please, please do your research and understand the severity of why closures are necessary. This is not the time for “me, me, me” and hyper-individualism. This effects all of us. #AloneTogether

      1. Scott B says:

        Even if it infects 80% of the country (it will be more like 55%-60%, but we’ll go worst case for now), most of those cases will be mild. Only 20% of the people infected will be sick enough to seek any type of treatment and most of them will be a simple doctor’s visit. Critical care will be about 1% of those. This thing simply isn’t a big danger to well over 90% of the population. However the danger of an extended shutdown to the economy and the resulting fallout from it will endanger many more lives. Read about the mortality rates during the Great Depression for reference, where 7 million out of 123 million US citizens perished. Based on those figures we could lose 18.6 million people to another depression, many of them children. The economic package just passed is an absolute joke. $1200 isn’t even half a month’s rent in the greater Boston area. Don’t take my word for it, instead go read the position of John Ioannidis, a Harvard educated physician & scientist who is head of epidemiology at Stanford School of Medicine. he specializes in the control of infectious disease and it is his professional opinion that the government is overreacting to this virus without enough data and that the economic ramifications of an extended shutdown will cause far more death than the virus itself. Looking at this from all angles has nothing to do with hyper-individualism and everything to do with common sense.

  9. Silence Dogood says:

    Allowing kids to go back to school prematurely would be a grave, grave mistake I fear. I can’t think of an easier or faster way to infect the whole state of Massachusetts with coronavirus than letting kids attend school. The kids go home, get infected, carry the virus to school, infect other kids, those kids go home and infect their parents and so on.It makes it even worse that I’m sure parents have a hard time not hugging and kissing their kids and kids have a hard time not coughing or sneezing on each-other, a double whammy. Sending them to school completes the trifecta of infection by completing the circuit and ensuring the virus spreads far and wide. No. For all our safety, please do not send kids back to school until this virus is well, well managed or even a vaccine is out. If we’ve as a global community have learned anything, at them moment, isolation is a key player to stopping the virus. Massachusetts cases are going up. The trend does not look good. United States cases are going up. Education is renewable, kids can learn at home and learn at accelerated rates at a later date, piece of cake. Lives are not renewable.

  10. How does anybody in their right mind think that Massachusetts schools will reopen on May 4th?

  11. Elsie Gilkey says:

    Mell,TamTam,and Mary Mary Martin obviously you must not see what’s going on No offence Mary Martin but I’m glad your not a teacher to any of my grandchildren ,you would put their lives in danger Its not just Charlie Baker or just Massachusetts that has closed schools All elementary, Jr high ,high ,and all colleges are shut down all over our country Did you see what’s happening all over the world People are dying from this virus Not just older people either Some children have died also From what I last seen there has been 583,000 people in USA that has the virus ( lots have not been tested) and 29,389 deaths Charlie Baker has done just what he should of done and we should be thankful for him doing it Just like every other governor in our country So according to you I guess no one should vote for any of the governor’s that are in our country because they all closed the schools down

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