Mass. education department to audit 2 school districts over remote learning

Boston, MA  6/25/2020  Commissioner Jeffrey Riley (cq), with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, speaks.  Governor Charlie Baker (cq) holds a press availability in the Gardner Auditorium, of the State House, during the coronavirus pandemic.  Plans for school reopening are disclosed.  POOL (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)  Reporter:  Hanna Krueger
State Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley. –Pat Greenhouse / The Boston Globe, File

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts education officials have made good on a promise to audit school districts that have not updated their timeline for bringing students back for in-person instruction despite community coronavirus transmission rates considered safe.

State Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley in a letter to school committees in East Longmeadow and Watertown wrote that he is concerned each district is not “aligning its reopening model” with public health metrics.

The audit will review whether the districts’ remote learning programs adhere to state and federal regulations around structured learning time; if the districts have a clear plan to return to in-person instruction that takes into account health and safety data; whether appropriate support is being provided to English language learners, students with disabilities and special needs; and whether teachers and administrators are regularly communicating with students and families.

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Riley and Gov. Charlie Baker have said that only school districts in communities considered at high-risk for coronavirus transmission for three consecutive weeks should have remote-only learning.

John Portz, chairperson of the Watertown School Committee, told The Boston Globe he felt the district put together a plan that was best for their community and is making progress.

Messages were left with East Longmeadow school officials.


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