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Lawrence halts in-person learning until Nov. 30

Full remote learning for students in the city school system will continue for at least six more weeks with in-person learning not beginning until Nov. 30.

In a letter to families, Superintendent Cynthia Paris said Friday the district decided to roll back the return to school in collaboration with local leaders to keep students and staff healthy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Based on the increasing Lawrence COVID-19 rate seen in recent state public health data, it is with great disappointment that we are postponing the scheduled in-person return of high-needs students," Paris said.

As of Wednesday, data from the state Department of Public Health confirmed 5,002 Lawrence residents tested positive for the coronavirus. City health officials said 143 residents have died from the disease.

Approximately 400 students were expected to return to school buildings Oct. 19, Paris said.

Lawrence previously announced a phased-in reopening plan with the goal of students returning to hybrid learning this fall, according to a plan submitted to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The letter from Paris listed the schools affected in what was to be Phase 1 of the reopening. They are Community Day Arlington and Arlington Middle School; Guilmette Elementary and Middle schools; South Lawrence East Elementary and Spark Academy; Parthum Elementary and Middle schools; Wetherbee School; the School for Exceptional Studies and SES Annex; the Lawrence High School campus (Lower and Upper schools, Abbott, ENLACE); and RISE.

"We want to welcome students back to buildings and recognize the importance, especially for our high-needs learners, of being together again with classmates and teachers," the superintendent said. "This difficult decision was made in collaboration with health officials and our partners at the City of Lawrence, and we are confident it is in the best interest of all our families, students and staff at this time."

High-needs students are identified as those in prekindergarten, kindergarten, special education programs and also newcomer English learners in grades 1-8.


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