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Boston schools closed tomorrow due to frigid temperatures

Boston Public School students get their second day off in less than a week.

Ad a press conference this morning, Mayor Wu said it was not just the temperatures themselves but related Covid-19 factors: With staffing shortages, for example, among school-bus drivers, combined with schools forced to keep windows open to ensure adequate ventilation, officials decided they did not want to risk any students getting literally left out in the cold.

Wu said this would be BPS's second "snow" day of the five the system has baked into its schedule.

She added that although the Baker administration is refusing to let schools return to remote learning, she said that individual BPS schools have begun planning on going to remote learning, even if it means getting penalized at the end of the year, if staffing drops even lower.

She said that today, BPS reported a total of 1,202 staff absences, although not all due to Covid-19.

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Comments

He is correct in my opinion

We know that virtual learning did not work. It was a failure across the country and we kept kids out way too long," Dr. Zeke Emanuel, a former member of the Biden transition team’s Covid task force.

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Voting closed 35

Kids across the district are a full year behind where they were in 2019. It overwhelmingly hurt students of lower SES, and the fallout from removing kids from classroom social situations for that long is still affecting the student body. As a long-term solution, it's completely untenable.

That said, shutting everything down for a week or two until the current spike of COVID infections slows down is a much better idea than shrugging our shoulders and saying "welp, gotta keep the economy open, even if it kills a bunch of people." But we couldn't go back to remote learning, even short-term, if we wanted to... see my other comment further downthread.

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But the last time BPS shut down for 2 weeks, it lasted over a year.

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I was talking to other BPS parents who were upset that school was closed on Friday. They said, "They did virtual school for months last year, why can't they just go virtual for one day?" My quick reply is that virtual school sucked for everybody. The more nuanced reply is that a lot (most? all?) of the teachers lead their virtual classes last year from within their school. (you can't expect teachers to come in when it really is snowing a lot, as it was Friday.) Add in COVID (lots of teachers and kids out sick) and it was the right call on Friday. Now calling off school because of cold sounds like something they would do in Georgia, not here in Boston.

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Open windows. Shortage of bus drivers. Extreme cold. Did you read?

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The forecast low temperature is 8 degrees. That's cold, but not "extreme cold". Reading between the lines, I think the mayor highlighting the weather as the main reason for closing schools is a cop out.

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Part of the problem is that the forecast high is 11 degrees.

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Since returning from the holiday break, schools have become warehouses where children are held/babysat and tested for covid all day long. Not much education is going on. Staffing levels have become desperate in some schools. Teachers and, especially, nurses are at the point of collapse. Because remote learning is no longer allowed By Baker/Riley, even for schools rife with contagion, the Mayor has no choice but to call a day off for other, additional reasons.

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...you didn't read.

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Yes, Boston knows how to deal with cold weather. It tends to involve closing windows and doors to keep the heat in--fine in 2019, but poor ventilation is a serious covid risk.

Yes, there's a mask mandate in schools right now--and if you were asking me to breathe air that cold, I'd be keeping my mask on so breathing the air was less painful. But masks aren't enough by themselves. Open windows in those conditions risk hypothermia, and closed windows would be a covid risk.

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I get it, it didn't work for everyone. There were downsides, more so for some. There were also upsides, again more so for some.

It's not 100% either direction.

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that was in place last year to make remote school possible is gone. It's gone because Charlie Baker, via DESE, made it illegal for school districts to even talk about contingency plans for going back to remote schooling. The state/districts and their various agencies spent billions of dollars on technology, training, and infrastructure to make remote schooling possible for the 2020-2021 school year, then they decided to toss it rather than mothball it, because COVID was over and we had to keep the economy open. Schools couldn't do remote teaching for a snow day if they wanted to, because the district's Chromebooks haven't been maintained and they don't have the IT capacity to handle 10K password reset requests plus whatever issues would inevitably come up from teachers who are rusty on remote instruction.

As ever, if you want to figure out why the government did something so incredibly stupid and shortsighted, look for the elected officials with the (R) next to their names.

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In 2015, before school windows had to stay open for increased ventilation (and that was before all of the snow started in 2015) https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/01/07/boston-public-schools-close...

The National Weather Service is forecasting for Boston:

Sunny, with a high near 12. Wind chill values as low as -8. Northwest wind 8 to 13 mph.

and AccuWeather is forecasting wind gusts up to 32mph during the day for Boston.

The air is going to hurt tomorrow.

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I was on a jury and had to head to court. It was legitimately painful to be outside, even with almost all of my skin covered.

And half of my daughter's class is already out with covid or caution, so it's not like that many more kids will be missing a day.

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The problem here is not the COVID.

The problem is the school buses.

It's plenty warm enough for a kid to travel a short distance - even by bike or foot - from a warm house to a warm school, if they have proper clothing.

It's nowhere near warm enough for a kid to stand on the sidewalk waiting for a school bus that's an hour late.

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