MALDEN, Mass. (WWLP) – The Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education is requiring all Massachusetts school districts to provide high school students with full-time, in-person learning by May 17, 2021. Parents and guardians still have the option to choose remote learning for their children for the remainder of this school year.

Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley was given the authority by the the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education back in March to decide when remote and hybrid learning models no longer count toward required Student Learning Time regulations.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has been using a phased-in approach to bring school departments back to full time, in person instruction. Elementary schools began on April 5 and middle schools will begin on April 28. All high schools must return fully in-person by May 17 unless the district receives a waiver from the DESE. This includes high school students with various types and levels of disabilities and those students who are non-English speakers.

Schools and districts are now required to include a daily visual “live check-in” to support students whose families have selected remote instruction. Under DESE’s remote learning regulations, students are required to have opportunities for interaction with a teacher each school day. The daily live check-in provides the district with key information about student engagement and well-being.

As the rate of COVID-19 infections continue to fall, many districts have already started to bring more students back into classrooms full time. Currently, there are 146 school districts already fully in-person in grades K-12. By May 17, a total of 198 school districts plan to be back fully in-person in grades K-12, representing two-thirds of all high schools in the state.