The day before the one-year anniversary of Governor Charlie Baker's declaration of a State of Emergency due to COVID-19, Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley made the call to mandate the process of reopening the schools for full-time, in-person learning.

"This has been the goal from the beginning. We know that the greatest thing to do is to have our children and our teachers together," said Dr. Robert Baldwin, President of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and Fairhaven Superintendent of Schools.

Hear Dr. Baldwin's full interview with Michael and Maddie here.

The deadline for elementary schools (K-5) to reopen to full-time, in-person learning is April 5, 2021. The commissioner also announced the deadline for a return to middle school will be Wednesday, April 28, 2021.

Baldwin told Michael and Maddie that the required spacing between students will be dropped from six feet apart to three feet apart. Even with the more relaxed restriction in the classrooms, he acknowledged that there are going to be some classrooms that will need to be broken up simply because there isn't enough room to safely distance the students.

With that in mind, we asked Dr. Baldwin if that might mean some children would need to be moved to be taught by a different teacher.

"The short answer is yes, absolutely," Baldwin said. "Think about it, we need to maintain equity. We need to increase the distance between students to keep them safe and decrease class sizes."

That may, he agreed, mean a shift in teacher and student assignments.

"Can you imagine doing that now? We're going to have to," said Baldwin.


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