Back-to-school preparations shared ahead of 2021-2022 Boston Public Schools year
Mayor Kim Janey and Superintendent Brenda Cassellius were today joined by Dr. Cassandra Pierre, Boston Medical Center Associate Hospital Epidemiologist; Tim Rowe, CIC CEO & Founder; and Catherine De Jesús Martínez, BPS student at Boston International Newcomers Academy to discuss Boston Public Schools’ back-to-school plan ahead of the start of the 2021-2022 School Year. Thursday, September 9. is the first day for Grades 1-12 and Monday, September 13, is the first day for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten.
“As Mayor of Boston, and as an education advocate, a BPS alum, and as the proud parent of a BPS graduate, I’m excited to kick off the new school year,” said Mayor Kim Janey. “This particular back-to-school season is the first time since March 2020 that we are welcoming all of our students back to Boston Public Schools. This is an important reunion for students, teachers, and school staff, and we will ensure that it’s a safe reunion.”
"The Boston Public Schools team is so excited to welcome back our students and staff for a successful school year next week. As we continue to support our students in recovery from the impacts of the pandemic, we are looking forward to returning to the joy of teaching and learning," said BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. "We have been working all summer to ensure the physical, social and emotional health of our students and staff and we continue to address all challenges as they arise. The best place for children to learn is inside the classroom, and BPS is thrilled to begin the year with all students attending school in-person, alongside their peers and under the loving care of their educators."
The third school year amid the pandemic, Boston Public Schools has prepared strategies to ensure a safe and successful year of learning for all students. Eligible students and staff are encouraged to get vaccinated. In collaboration with the Boston Public Health Commission, vaccination clinics continue to be accessible for students 12 years of age and older. Additionally, staff are required to follow the City of Boston vaccination verification mandate.
Furthermore, Boston Public Schools is utilizing both face coverings and COVID-19 testing to ensure students and staff are safe. Masks continue to be required to be worn by all students and staff while in school and riding BPS school buses. There are three main strategies for COVID-19 testing in schools, operated by CIC Health:
- Routine COVID-19 Pool testing: Free, voluntary and confidential COVID-19 pool testing will be available in schools for students and staff. To participate, parents/guardians/caregivers must complete a consent form for their student(s) to be eligible for pool testing. Schools will provide weekly COVID-19 testing for a sample of the population (the pool). If there is a positive pool case, each individual sample for the positive pool will be attested with a follow-up test.
- Testing for students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19: Any student who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will have access to a rapid test.
- Test to Stay: Introduced by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Test and Stay allows individuals who are identified as a close contact of a confirmed positive case to stay in school with daily testing for five days if they do not have symptoms.
“Being vaccinated and wearing my mask makes me feel more confident to be back in public,” said Catherine De Jesús Martínez, a senior at Boston International Newcomers Academy.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they will quarantine for 10 days and return to school after no longer presenting symptoms or with a negative test. Students who are confirmed close contacts of a positive case in school will not have to quarantine, but will have the opportunity to test for five days in school if they do not have symptoms according to DESE’s Test and Stay policy.
Boston Public Schools continues to ensure hygienic practices in all schools, including thorough cleaning, access to PPE supplies, hand washing and hand sanitizer stations, and air filtration and ventilation.
Additionally, in line with national trends, BPS is experiencing a bus driver shortage. Please apply here if you are interested in becoming a BPS bus driver. The role offers $26.65 an hour plus benefits. BPS is currently hiring for multiple positions including bus monitors and food service workers. Anyone interested in joining the BPS team can apply at bostonpublicschools.org/OHC, and click “Find a Job.”
For more information about the school year, visit the BPS Back to School webpage here.
To access Boston Public Schools’ Back to School Guide, visit here.