On March 16, Governor Baker ordered that schools in Massachusetts would close and would “reopen no sooner than May 4,” which is the language we have been using as a District. I am hearing increasing levels of concern and stress from students, families, and staff about the May 4 date included in the Governor’s order, especially since the statewide Stay Home order has been extended until that date and guidance from scientists and the medical community indicates that a gradual return to prior activities and structures will be required when the threat of COVID-19 spread has reduced. In addition, recent modeling and information from the local experts at Baystate Medical Center has indicated that the peak of COVID-19 cases in Western Massachusetts is likely to occur in May or June, considerably later than projections for the Boston area.
Given these factors, I am changing my statement about when schools will reopen. As of today, Wednesday, April 8, school buildings are now closed until I receive adequate guidance from state and local health officials that makes me confident that it is safe for students and staff to return to school. I am not putting a specific date on the potential return, but it is clear that it will not be May 4. I also want to clearly state that a return to school during the 2019-2020 school year looks increasingly unlikely given the guidance I have received to date. I know that the uncertainty of this situation is a major challenge, which is why I felt it was important to share this updated information with families and staff. The district will continue to endeavor to provide candid updates to the ARPS community as the situation evolves.
– Superintendent Morris