Schools

Teachers union criticizes state for refusing to count remote days at Curley School during outbreak

"The state should not be playing politics around school schedules or gambling with the health of students and their families."

Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
The Curley School Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
GONE REMOTE:

The Boston Teachers Union is criticizing state officials for saying they won’t count remote learning days at the Curley School as official school days while the school is shuttered due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

“The state should not be playing politics around school schedules or gambling with the health of students and their families,” union Executive Vice President Erik Berg said in a statement. “The idea that the state is not going to give students credit for learning days that are remote under these circumstances strikes most parents and educators as bizarre.”

The elementary and middle school is in the middle of a 10-day closure due to the outbreak — there were 46 reported cases of COVID-19 there as of last Wednesday. The school is set to reopen on Monday, and has a remote learning plan in place.

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Jeff Riley, commissioner of the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, had reportedly said in a letter that students would have to return by Wednesday, or make up three days of school.

But Superintendent Brenda Cassellius and Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, have defended the decision to remain closed, stating that there will be a plan to make up any work missed.

The union asks the state to focus on its pool testing and “test and stay” programs to ensure student safety.

“We all want to be teaching in-person every day, but when public health officials warn about the safety of doing so, we need the state to listen,” Berg said. “The BTU strongly supports that all days of remote learning declared necessary by public health authorities in emergencies be counted toward the 180-day requirement.

“We join with BPS families in calling on DESE to reverse their misguided approach — and we have also called on both BPS and DESE to improve their management of their testing and tracing vendors to reduce the chance of further outbreaks,” he wrote.

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