BOSTON (SHNS) – With COVID-19 cases on the rise across the Northeast and New York City moving to close its schools to students and teachers this week, six governors, including Gov. Charlie Baker, banded together to support the continuation of in-person learning as a safe activity when done correctly.
The governors released a joint statement calling attention to the importance for children of being able to return to their classrooms and interact with peers and teachers. The collaboration comes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo convened a virtual summit of regional governors over the weekend to discuss pandemic response plans, which Baker did not participate in due to a scheduling conflict.
“Medical research as well as the data from Northeastern states, from across the country, and from around the world make clear that in-person learning is safe when the appropriate protections are in place, even in communities with high transmission rates,” the governors said.
The statement was signed by Baker, Cuomo, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Delaware Gov. John Carney, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.
“In-person learning is the best possible scenario for children, especially those with special needs and from low-income families. There is also growing evidence that the more time children spent outside of school increases the risk of mental health harm and affects their ability to truly learn,” the governors said.
Boston also retreated from in-person learning as the transmission of the coronavirus worsened in the city this fall, but four schools reopened this week for high needs students.
Baker has urged school districts not to use remote-only learning as a model unless there is evidence of transmission within school buildings.