BOSTON (CBS) – With Boston public schools ruling out a return to full in-person learning at the start of the school year, Superintendent Brenda Cassellius is providing a more detailed look at how a hybrid model would work.
“It really is going to take a whole village to get children back in school,” she said in an interview today.
Students would be in class two days per week and learn remotely three days per week, but the school district is making sure it’s an interactive experience even at home.
“Everybody at the same time would be learning to use the technology and tools and also traditional tools like art and science projects.” Cassellius said, for example, students might be placed into a Zoom meeting with a smaller group of students, or they might have a whole classroom discussion with zoom.
It is still a work in progress as the system figures out how to teach more than 54,000 Boston school students come September.
The Maguire family has two children in the Boston public schools, and Mike Maguire, a teacher, believes a phased-in approach would be better.
“Trying to track classwork and remote work, what’s due when, for most families, it’s an awful big ask,” said Jill Maguire. “And some parents don’t have the flexibility to work from home.”
Mike Maguire believes the hybrid approach would be hard on teachers.”The idea of going into the classroom with half the students in front of me and half on the computer and navigate both at the same time, I don’t know how it’s going to be done.”
Parents can opt out of any in-classroom learning, but the superintendent believes trying to get students back is helpful for them. “Giving children a joyful environment where they can thrive and one that doesn’t feel scary or sanitized.”
The Maguires agree but want a slower approach. “Start with no one in the classroom, give teachers time to prepare and slowly start to bring more and more kids back and see how the numbers go,” said Mike Maguire.
Cassellius said she knows there are childcare concerns, and she said the school system will continue to work with non-profit partners to help families. She urges parents to check the Boston Public Schools website for continuing updates, and while Sept. 10 is the current start date, she said no one will return to school buildings if, in the next few weeks, it’s deemed to be unsafe for students and staff.