COVID-19 updates: MA begins multiple phase re-opening

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus that has spread across the world in recent months, leading to a global pandemic.

GRAPHIC BY TAEYEON KIM

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus that has spread across the world in recent months, leading to a global pandemic.

This is a developing story. Check back for live updates.
May 18, 3:32

This morning Governor Charlie Baker announced plans for the gradual reopening of Massachusetts. Today marks the start of Phase One, in which the Stay at Home advisory is being replaced by a Safer at Home advisory.

Gatherings of ten or more are still prohibited, and the governor urged those in high-risk populations to continue to work from home when possible. Starting on May 25 offices outside of Boston will be open, with Boston offices opening a week later on June 1. Businesses should have no more than 25% of their maximum occupancy in the office at any one time. Beaches, parks, some athletic fields and courts, and hair salons will open on May 25.

The governor reminded Massachusetts residents to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds regularly and continue to socially distance themselves throughout the reopening process.

This phase of the reopening process will last for at least three weeks and will be followed by Phase Two. In Phase Two, restaurants, nail salons, playgrounds, and more will open with restrictions. If the public health data regarding COVID-19 worsens during Phase One, there may be a return to Phase Zero.

Schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year, although the governor allowed for potential exceptions, which would be announced at a later date.

April 21, 12:50 p.m.

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Governor Charlie Baker announced that all Massachusetts schools will be closed for the rest of the school year, extending the closure from the previous end date of May 4.

April 15, 4:04 p.m.

The grading policy as released by the administration in an email on Tuesday, April 14.

In an email sent to students on Tuesday evening, the administration explained the grading policy for the remainder of the school year. Yearly grades will be made up of three grading periods: first quarter, second quarter, and a pass/fail section comprising work from the second half of the year. Final grades will be a numerical average of the first and second quarters; third quarter grades from before the school closure will only be included in that average if it benefits the student. Students will be required to complete at least 70 percent of their assignments to pass a course.

In addition, the administration stated that there should be about three hours of work per class each week. They also suggested that students should have a chance to connect with educators multiple times weekly over video call. No final exams will be administered unless students return to school before the end of the year.

Furthermore, the spring administration of the MCAS exams has been cancelled for the first time in its history.

Similarly, the College Board has cancelled the June 6 administration of the SAT nationwide. They have suggested that, if this situation continues and schools are unable to reopen in the fall, they may offer the test online.

April 5, 9:39 p.m.

According to an email sent by Headmaster Anthony Meyer to Brookline High School students, the high school will be starting a “pass/fail” system next week. Similarly to previous weeks, students will be given work through the United Mind Workers page on the BHS website. However, it will now be graded for completion.

The email also stated that the high school will be respecting Passover, Good Friday, and Easter and thus will not be assigning work for Thursday, April 9; Friday, April 10; and Monday, April 13.

March 25, 4:00 p.m.

In a recent press conference, Governor Charlie Baker announced that all Massachusetts schools and other public facilities will be closed until Monday, May 4. This extends the closure period from April 7, the previously set deadline.

WGBH will be offering educational programming to children to make up for some lost time at school.

March 24, 3:10 p.m.

Governor Charlie Baker issued an order directing the Department of Public Health to give a stay-at-home advisory and ordered all non-essential businesses to stop in-person meetings. This is set to begin Tuesday, March 24 at 12 p.m. and will end Tuesday, April 7 at 12 p.m. The list of “essential businesses” will include grocery stores, banks, appliance stores and places of worship.

March 21, 4:54 p.m.

According to an email from Head of School Anthony Meyer, the high school will be conducting distance learning over the next two weeks. In his email, Meyer wrote that students will receive assignments totaling roughly three to four hours of work per “core” subject each week. Work will be submitted through either Canvas or United Mind Workers, a page to be added to the BHS website. Elective course teachers are also permitted to assign work as they see fit.

While the work will not be officially graded, assignments will be marked for completion. Additionally, both general and special education teachers will be able to consult with students during this time.

March 20, 5:56 p.m.

The College Board has changed the Advanced Placement (AP) exam format for schools affected by COVID-19. This year’s AP exams will be 45-minute online exams accessible on smartphones, tablets and computers. They will be administered at home on a date to be determined.
These modified exams will only cover material that most schools would have covered by March. Refer to the College Board website for specific units by course. Dates, times and question breakdowns for all tests will be released on April 3.

There are free online study resources available for students and teachers. The high school has not yet provided any additional information regarding AP exams.

March 18, 6:10 p.m.

According to an email from Dean of Students Lisa Redding, the Junior Semi-formal set to occur Friday, March 27 has been cancelled. Any students who have already purchased a ticket will be refunded.

The Select Board, Town Administrator Mel Kleckner and Director of Health and Human Services Dr. Swannie Jett have created a website to keep Brookline residents informed on how the town is responding to COVID-19. The townwide discussion group on Facebook is also a source of additional useful information surrounding the virus.

Social worker Paul Epstein published an open letter to students explaining the dangers of COVID-19 and the importance of social distancing.

March 16, 7:01 p.m.

The ACT that was previously scheduled for April 4 has been moved to June 13 across the country.

The May 2 administration of the SAT and SAT Subject Tests has been canceled as well, and refunds will be provided to all students who were signed up for those tests. Furthermore, any previously scheduled makeup dates for March 14 administrations of the SAT have also been canceled.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletics Association (MIAA) has announced that all spring sports will start April 27, with completion of all games by June 20. The announcement came in response to Governor Baker’s Sunday message closing schools statewide. The MIAA has called the situation “very fluid” and will continually revisit these dates going forward.

March 15, 6:45 p.m.

This afternoon, Governor Charlie Baker closed all schools in Massachusetts for the upcoming three weeks through to Tuesday, April 7.

The governor also amended the previous ban of public gatherings with over 250 people by cutting the limit to 25. Furthermore, restaurants in the state are now only permitted to serve takeout.

March 15, 3:53 p.m.

According to a tweet from State Senator Nick Collins, all South Boston restaurants and bars will be closed Sunday, March 15. In his tweet, Collins wrote to the South Boston community saying that “we are in this together and it’s imperative now that we do all that we can to keep our communities safe.”

March 13, 7:38 p.m.

According to their Twitter, Boston Public Schools have canceled school Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, April 27. Students will be given the opportunity on Monday, March 16 to bring belongings home.

The Coolidge Corner Theatre will also be closed through at least April 3.

March 13, 1:43 p.m.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker just announced a ban on public gatherings of over 250 people in the state in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19. This ban does not apply to most stores, airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, factories, office buildings, or government buildings.

According to the College Board, there may not be a makeup date for the SAT that was scheduled for Saturday, March 14 at the high school. However, all students who signed up for the test will receive a full refund for the exam.

Call 866-756-7346 or email [email protected] if you have any questions, or go to www.sat.org to schedule an exam.

March 13, 11:31 a.m.

The ACT test scheduled for April 4 at Brookline High has been canceled. ACT, Inc. will email students when a new date for the test has been finalized. The organization encourages any students unable to attend that date to call ACT Student Services at 319-337-1270 to sign up for a different test date at no cost.

Additionally, the Board of Library Trustees has recently announced their decision to close all Brookline libraries through at least March 27, in accordance with recommendations made by public health professionals and the town administration. The loan periods on all library items have been extended to four weeks, and all fines from this time will be waived.

On a similar note, the Brookline Teen Center will be closed until further notice.

Finally, the Boston Marathon has officially been postponed for the first time in its storied 124-year history. It is currently set to occur on Sep. 14.

March 12, 7:33 p.m.

COVID-19 has impacted schools around the nation, including those in Brookline.

As of now, all Brookline Public Schools will be closed from Friday, March 13 through Friday, March 27. This decision was finalized at a Brookline School Committee meeting. The closing of schools is a precautionary measure, and the schools will be disinfected during those two weeks. In addition, all after-school activities, including sports and student productions, have been suspended until further notice.

At this time, it is unclear whether the high school will have classes held or homework assigned online over the course of the next two weeks.

In light of the school closures, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has revised the requirement of 180 school days. The limit for makeup days is the pre-scheduled 185th day, which is June 29 for Brookline Public Schools. Schools will not be required to stay in session beyond June 30.

At least two Brookline residents have confirmed cases of COVID-19, one of them a parent of a Lincoln Elementary School student.

Furthermore, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has delayed the start of the spring sports season to March 30.

March 11

According to a recent update from the superintendent, Brookline will be canceling all “non-essential evening meetings, gatherings, and community events” until April 30. This includes the SAT test scheduled for Saturday, March 14, parent events, student performances, all field trips and any uses of school buildings by other groups.