From iBerkshires:

The Baker administration is pushing school districts to form plans that allow all students to return to the classroom, according to comments from the interim superintendent of the Mount Gryelock Regional School District.

Speaking on Tuesday to the School Committee’s Education Subcommittee, Robert Putnam said that while districts are required to create plans for the fall that would allow remote learning or a hybrid of remote and in-person instruction, the message from Boston is that the goal is to get students back in school buildings.

“The commissioner of education, Commissioner [Jeffrey] Riley, basically, he’s prioritized getting kids back into the classroom,” Putnam told the subcommittee. “I must submit three plans on the 31st of July with the priority on getting all kids in the classroom. And [Riley] has — his expectation is that we are right now in the midst of a feasibility study in terms of how many kids we can actually fit in the schools.”

Putnam said full, in-person instruction is the focus for himself, the building principals and the district’s director of buildings and grounds, Tim Sears.

I think that Professor Steven Miller is playing a key role in this discussion. What do you think should happen?

I think that Williamstown public schools should open for all students. First, CV-19 is almost harmless to children. Second, there is almost no evidence that children are vectors. That is, there are almost no documented cases of children infecting their parents, despite being in much closer proximity to them than students are to their teachers. Third, in-person schooling is important, especially for students from poorer families and with less educated parents. Whatever risk there may be to teachers — and the primary risk is almost certainly sharing indoor space with other teachers — is not enough to justify closing schools. Any teacher who feels that the risk is too great should resign and pursue a different career.

What do you think will happen come September? I don’t follow Williamstown politics closely enough to have a strong opinion.

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