Parents have been forced to send their children to school dressed in multiple layers of winter clothing because of a Boston Public Schools mandate that windows be kept open 4 inches to mitigate the spread of Covid.
“Good morning families,” one school wrote in a letter to parents first reported by the Boston Herald. “It is still very cold. Remember the windows in our classrooms have to be open. I suggest layering your child’s clothes (2 pairs of pants, 2 shirts and a sweater, 2 pairs of socks, etc. (Plus all their outerwear (hat, glove, scarf, etc.).”
The policy has triggered outrage from some parents, who see the abundance of Covid caution to the point that kids are freezing in class as a hindrance to learning.
“These are the notifications I get from a BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOL … in the 21st century,” one parent tweeted. “I hate this so much. How is my 4yr old to concentrate on learning trying to keep warm?!? An adult has trouble in the cold these kids are enduring so much.”
Samantha Laney, a teacher at Holmes Elementary School in Dorchester, said at a School Committee meeting Wednesday that she and her students leave their coats on in class because the windows are required to be left open to circulate air.
Mary Dibinga, a Boston Latin Academy teacher, suggested to the School Committee that many of the Covid rules are arbitrarily implemented, given that the school buses she’s seen have been packed with students with no social distancing due to a driver shortage. She noted that she had to teach in a “55-degree classroom.”
There will be a walk-out on Friday morning to protest the school system’s poor working conditions for staff. The district doubled-down on the window rule Wednesday, adding that school facilities will turn up the heat to help stabilize the temperature, wasting expensive energy so that the windows can remain open.
“This is the protocol for each school to mitigate COVID risks,” a Boston Public Schools spokeswoman said Wednesday of the open-window mandate. “Temperatures in school buildings have been adjusted to 76 degrees to help combat the required window ventilation, and teachers/staff are urged to contact their school leader if they are experiencing issues with heat or cold.”
The spike in Omicron cases has sent school districts across the country into a panic, moving them to impose bizarre Covid mitigation measures such as forcing children to eat lunch, and teachers to take instruction, outside in frigid temperatures, while masked.