The city of Boston said Wednesday they are suspending the reopening of public schools after a surge of new coronavirus infections, the Associated Press reported.
Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the city is delaying the next phase of public school reopenings because the positivity rate for coronavirus rose above 4%, according to the report.
Preschoolers and kindergarteners will reportedly now start school Oct. 22, a week after they were initially supposed to return. Students in grades four through eight will now begin a hybrid model the week of Nov. 5, and grades nine through 12 will begin a hybrid model the week of Nov. 16, per the AP. The mayor noted that all start dates are dependent on the coronavirus data. (RELATED: Boston College Has Had 1 Football Player Test Positive For Coronavirus Since June)
BOSTON (AP) — The city of Boston says it’s suspending the reopening of public schools after coronavirus infections surged past 4%.
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) October 7, 2020
“We believe it is prudent at this time to pause the school reopening plan,” the mayor said at a Wednesday press conference.
“I understand the importance of having school for our young people,” Walsh said. “For many of these students, not being in school presents a risk that cannot be mitigated the way that the risk of COVID can be.”
“The risk of moving backwards, that is very difficult to recover from,” he added, per AP.
Walsh reportedly said that students who have already been allowed to return to class — such as students with disabilities, English learners, those experiencing homelessness or those who are in state care — can continue to go to school.
Massachusetts is one of the states hit hardest by the virus, with more than 133,300 confirmed cases and at least 9,323 deaths, according to the Associated Press. The average positivity rate for the week ending Oct. 3 was the highest since early June, reaching 4.1%, according to Boston’s Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez.
The city of Boston was hit particularly hard by the virus. As of Oct. 6, the city had more than 17,700 confirmed cases and 764 deaths, Martinez said. The Boston Marathon, which was scheduled to take place April 20, was canceled for the first time in history due to the pandemic.