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August 22, 2020

Statement from Congresswoman Pressley on Boston Public Schools Re-Opening Plan

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) today issued the following statement on the decision by Boston Public Schools to begin the school year remotely. Boston Public Schools will now join Somerville Public Schools, Chelsea Public Schools and Everett Public Schools in conducting an entirely remote start to the academic year. Earlier this summer, the Congresswoman joined educators, students and families in calling for full remote learning across the Commonwealth. 

“Prioritizing the health of our students, our educators and their families is critical. Yesterday’s announcement from BPS is welcome news and follows similar decisions from other school districts in the Massachusetts 7th. I know our communities are faced with a very difficult set of circumstances and a White House that has failed to coordinate a national response to keep us safe. Our efforts in the Massachusetts 7th in the coming weeks will and must focus on addressing equity issues in remote learning and ensure our educators and students are supported in every sense of the word.

“It is critical that we utilize the remaining weeks ahead of the school year to ensure that all students, families and educators have the supports and resources necessary to engage in high-quality remote learning. And we cannot rush to begin phasing in hybrid in-person learning too quickly. Our nation continues to be in the midst of a public health crisis that is disproportionately impacting many of our most vulnerable communities. Any efforts to begin phasing in in-person hybrid learning, must be based on the most recent COVID-19 data and prioritize the health and safety of our students and educators. This begins with ensuring we have healthy and safe school buildings, equipped with the staff, PPE and testing capacity necessary to ensure the safe return of students and educators.

“I look forward to continuing to work with our local leaders to ensure students throughout the Massachusetts 7th are able to continue their education as safely as possible.”

Congresswoman Pressley has been a vocal opponent to the Trump Administration and Education Secretary DeVos’s efforts to pressure states and school districts throughout the country to reopen for in-person learning in the fall.  

Earlier this summer, she convened a youth-led listening session where she heard directly from students across the Massachusetts 7th congressional district as they discussed what it has been like to balance schoolwork, caregiving responsibilities and jobs to support their family in the midst of this public health crisis.

In June, Congresswoman Pressley partnered with Congresswomen Tlaib (MI-13) and Jahana Hayes (CT-05) in leading more than 110 of their Congressional colleagues in sending a letter to Congressional leadership strongly urging the inclusion of at least $305 billion in emergency funds to support K-12 schools as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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