Live school updates: The latest on COVID-19 and education in Mass.

Here's the latest news on schools during the coronavirus pandemic in Massachusetts.

–Gabriela Campos/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP, File

Chicopee Public Schools to eliminate snow days in favor of online learning (Nov. 6)

With online learning now in use due to the pandemic, Chicopee school officials have decided to drop snow days altogether this year.

“I know snow days are controversial for all superintendents,” school committee member Mary-Elizabeth Pniak-Costello said, according to MassLive.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education decided to let districts plan how to address snow days this year — either allowing the typical day off or by going remote for the day.

West Springfield decided to plan for remote learning on what would be snow days, too, according to WWLP.

“Overall this will be better for learning, better for kids and now you don’t have to add those days onto the end of the year when it’s hot out and you want to be outside,” Will Reichelt, mayor of West Springfield and chair of the school committee, told the news station.

Students pursuing lawsuit against BU over end of in-person classes told by judge to address ‘deficiencies’ in claim (Nov. 6)


A group of students who have sued Boston University over moving classes to remote sessions this past spring were told by a judge that they need to address some issues with the lawsuit.

In a motion, posted online by Universal Hub, Judge Richard Stearns of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts notes that while the lawsuit claims that the students were attending the university with the “reasonable expectation” that they would be attending classes in person and would be able to use BU’s resources, the suit doesn’t “tie these allegations to any of the students.”

“Although the [Consolidated Amended Complaint] cites to marketing materials which generally imply the existence of in-person instruction, it does not allege that any named plaintiff ever read these materials – let alone that they relied on the materials in choosing to enroll at BU,” the document says.

The judge notes that the students have two weeks to address the issues he described.

Fitchburg postpones start of hybrid learning, again (Nov. 4)

The Fitchburg school district has again postponed the start of hybrid learning for students, this time from Nov. 9 until Nov. 16.

The decision, affecting students in Cohorts A and B, was announced by Superintendent Robert Jokela during a school committee meeting Monday night, according to a Facebook post from the district.


Originally, these students were supposed to resume in-person learning via the hybrid model on Nov 2. That was then postponed to Nov. 9.

“I know this postponement is impactful to students, staff, and families, however, given the recent spreader event in the City, it was the safest action to take at this time,” Jokela said in the post.

Dear Fitchburg Community, FITCHBURG — After speaking with Board of Health Director Steve Curry and Mayor DiNatale, I…

Posted by Fitchburg Public Schools on Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Students in Cohort C were moved to a period of remote learning from Wednesday through Friday, Nov. 12.

The Sentinel and Enterprise noted that roughly 150 COVID-19 cases have been linked to Crossroads Community Church with another 40 thought to have come from local hockey leagues.

Educators in Brookline go on one-day strike (Nov. 3)

Educational staff in Brookline reportedly called in sick Tuesday, a professional development day, to go on strike over working conditions they feel aren’t safe.

In a statement, the Brookline Educators Union said teachers want district officials to permanently maintain the six-foot rule between students during in-person instruction. However, they say the school committee wants the authority to change the rule “when they see fit.”

“We understand that this action will impact important training and planning, but we feel standing up for safety and health must come first and we will, as always, support each other in doing our best work with students,” the statement said.

The union noted that educators decided to strike on the development day as to not affect students’ learning or childcare for families.

Posted by Beu Brookline on Monday, November 2, 2020

A rally was planned for 4 p.m. Tuesday at Brookline High School.

In a statement obtained by NECN, the district said its superintendent doesn’t plan on changing the distancing guideline “unless something significant happens to change our understanding of best practices.”


“At any point before the end of the school year, the optimal mix of protective measures may be very different and less reliant on distancing,” the statement said.

Franklin is latest high school to change reopening plans after student party (Nov. 2)

Franklin High School has delayed its transition to hybrid learning and canceled sports for two weeks after dozens of students attended a Halloween party at which they did not wear face coverings or maintain social distance, administrators said.

Classes will remain fully remote for now and hybrid learning will begin Nov. 16, Franklin schools Superintendent Sara Ahern and Franklin High Principal Josh Hanna said in a message to the school community Sunday.

All sports practices and games were canceled at the high school, located west of Foxborough near the Rhode Island border.

The decision was made with input from local public health officials, they said.

As many as 50 students attended the Saturday party and many scattered when police arrived, making contact tracing difficult.

“This behavior puts everyone at Franklin High School at risk and we have no choice but to remain in the remote setting for another two weeks,” the message said.

Several Massachusetts high schools have changed their lesson plans this fall because of student parties, including Wilmington, Marblehead and Lincoln-Sudbury.

— Associated Press

Last week’s live education updates can be found here.

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