State Education Commissioner to School Districts: Go In-Person or Face Audit
Continuing a pressure campaign against local school districts that began over the summer, the commissioner of education this week sent multiple districts a letter requesting "further information" of those who are beginning the school year with remote instruction.
In a letter dated Friday, Jeffrey C. Riley told more than a dozen districts, including Pittsfield Public Schools, Hoosac Valley Regional and the Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School, that they have "very low COVID-19 transmission" and that he is "concerned" that their school committees have elected to keep most students remote to start the academic year.
Riley's letter cites the fall reopening plan issued by the commonwealth in June, which, he notes, was endorsed by the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
He also refers to a July missive from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention titled "Importance of Reopening Schools."
"Death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults," the CDC document reads. "At the same time, the harms attributed to closed schools on the social, emotional and behavioral health, economic well-being, and academic achievement of children, in both the short- and long-term, are well-known and significant.
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