BURLINGTON - School Supt. Dr. Eric Conti recently commented on some of the pressing logistical questions facing the district.

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, students in Burlington will remain out of their school classrooms until further notice. Initially, the plan was to move forward with just a 2-week closure beginning on March 13, but the pandemic has only worsened by the day in the Commonwealth, resulting in Gov. Charlie Baker extending school closures in the state through the end of April.

With so many looming questions facing the school district, Dr. Conti briefed the School Committee and parents with some much-needed answers regarding this remaining school year. Much of the insight provided by Dr. Conti has been relayed from administrative decisions made by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

- Attendance requirements

The standard requirements of attendance for this school year have been eliminated.

- April Vacation Week

Dr. Conti confirmed the district would have moved forward with the standard April 20-24 vacation, but it doesn’t matter now after Gov. Baker extended school closures in the state through the end of April.

- Last day of school

No matter what, the DESE has declared the final day of school this year will be June 24. The DESE is not requiring districts to make up any more time than the mandated 185-day requirement that has been established statewide on an annual basis.

- Learning at home

Dr, Conti remarked that starting Monday, March 30, the district will provide a “more structured” remote learning system for parents and students to adhere to. “The goal is to have as much learning as possible,” stated Dr. Conti. “It has and will continue to be about managing our health needs first, but we will begin to expand some of the remote learning opportunities beginning on Monday (March 30).” Dr. Conti did note the School Administration has been working the Burlington Educators’ Association as to figuring out the best way to orchestrate effective remote learning during the COVID-19 crisis.

- Feeding families

Assistant School Supt. Patrick Larkin detailed that the district has been collaborating its resources with the Burlington Food Pantry. Burlington High School had copious amounts of perishable food from the cafeteria, which they donated to the Food Pantry for local families that depend on those meals. Many of the recipients include students that are part of the school district’s meals program, where students are provided with daily morning and lunch meals through the school.

In general, words like “proud, flexibility, and creative” were mentioned by school officials when commenting on how the School Department, parents, and students have handled life outside the traditional classroom amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

For the most up-to-date news on how the district is managing this situation, please visit www.burlingtonpublicschools.org/district/corvid-19-resources/

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