Gov. Baker’s Decision to Keep School Buildings Closed Comes as No Surprise to Local Officials

Education Commissioner Jeff Riley stressed that Tuesday's order does not immediately end the school year as districts will be asked to offer remote learning. (Photograph by Nicolaus Czarnecki/Boston Herald/Pool.)

Local school officials say Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision yesterday to keep schools closed for the rest of the school year was not unexpected.

The news, which Baker paired with an announcement that he is working with advisors on a “thoughtful framework” to restart some economic activity, came before the state Department of Public Health announced 152 new COVID-19 deaths, for a total of 1,961. Baker explained his rationale at a news conference.

“At this point in time there is no authoritative guidance or advisories with respect to how to operate schools safely and how to get kids to and from schools safely,” the governor explained.

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School Superintendent Maureen Lynch said while school leaders are “saddened,” they were prepared.

“While this has been an unprecedented situation, we have planned for this potential extension of the closure and have modeled our remote programs to allow students stay engaged in their learning,” she said.

Pentucket Regional School Superintendent Justin Bartholomew said, “We are deeply saddened to know that we won't be meeting face-to-face again this school year with our students, but will continue working with students to keep them engaged and learning.” He added decisions about graduation, prom and academic awards ceremonies will be announced.

Besides schools remaining closed for the rest of the academic year, day care centers will not open until late June at the earliest.

Looking ahead, state officials are expected to release today the second batch of town-by-town COVID-19 data.

State House News Service contributed to this report.

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