DCPS plans January in-person instruction

CAMBRIDGE — If all goes well — and families follow health guidelines — local schools could resume in-person education in January.

After the pandemic forced the schools’ closing and going to on-line classes in March, Dorchester Public Schools re-opened for in-person classes earlier this fall.
Then when the numbers of positive cases throughout the county and the state began to climb again, it was back to on-line instruction. “We appeared to fall into a trap, of which Dr. [Anthony] Fauci warned, of COVID fatigue,” Superintendent Dave Bromwell said during a video address on Nov. 20.

The resulting spike in cases led to the renewed closure. “I was devastated, for our students, staff, and most importantly, for our parents and caregivers who had to readjust their work and childcare, yet again,” Mr. Bromwell said.
Numbers have improved since the Oct. closure, he said, allowing plans to continue for a return to buildings. On Dec. 1, special groups will be allowed in school, meaning 12th grade CTE, special needs, non-connectivity, DCPS staff’s children and struggling students will be allowed back.

Then on Dec. 8, the schools will attempt to return to Phase 1.5 A Group’s pre-K, Kindergarten, sixth and ninth grades back in the buildings. On Dec. 15, Phase 1.5 B Group will begin their transition.
If these moves are successful, DCPS can go to Phase 2 on Jan., with 50 percent of all grades. Then the following week, the remaining 50 percent will go to class.

“Here is my alert to everyone,” Mr. Bromwell said. “We can only advance with the phases of our Reopening Plan if our parents, staff and the community follow the COVID safety protocols.”

Recent outbreaks were caused by gatherings in businesses and homes in the county, he said. When a high number of individuals are quarantined, the schools lose not only teachers, but workers in many other capacities needed to operate the county’s schools.
If Dorchester residents do not follow safety guidelines, he said, the schools might have to revert to Phase 1.