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Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeff Riley.

State education commissioner Riley earns high marks on annual performance review amid unprecedented pandemic year

Secretary of Education James Peyser said Commissioner Jeffrey Riley has been particularly skillful at balancing the competing priorities of both education and public health groups, “which of course was never part of the job description when he came on board.”

A first-grade classroom at the McGlynn Elementary School in Medford.

In final report of the year, Mass. reports 53 coronavirus cases among public school students, 5 among school staff members

Cases have declined significantly in recent weeks, even after the number of students attending school in person rose in mid-May when high schools were required to fully reopen in person.

Students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School returned to classrooms for full-time, in-person learning in May.

Mass. reports 85 new coronavirus cases among public school students, 18 among school staff members

The number of cases reported among students was at its lowest single-week level since late September, when districts were not yet required to report cases to the state.

A kindergarten teacher used her Bitmoji to spread awareness about COVID-19 on the door of her classroom at Mary L. Fonseca Elementary School in Fall River in November 2020.

Mass. reports 117 new coronavirus cases among public school students, 13 among school staff members

The state K-12 education agency estimates about 735,000 students across the state are attending some form of in-person learning, and about 140,000 staff members are working in buildings.

The latest state guidance ends remote learning options for the fall and requires school to be in-person for all.

Teachers union head criticizes decision to drop coronavirus protocols in Mass. schools, but other educators praise move

Merrie Najimy called it “premature” for the state to end all COVID-19-related protocols in schools this fall, and said local communities should decide how to safely operate their districts, following the announcement that pandemic precautions will be dropped for the 2021-22 academic year.

In December, the auditorium at Wellesley High School was being used as a socially distanced classroom space.

Here are the latest changes to Mass. schools’ COVID-19 guidance

State education leaders left the possibility open of future health and safety recommendations around mask-wearing for younger students.

Medford teacher Susan Renaud's first-grade classroom at the McGlynn Elementary School, pictured in April.

COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted in Mass. schools this fall, in-person learning to be required, state says

School districts will not be allowed to offer remote learning as a standard learning model, according to the new guidance released Thursday from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

A classroom at Boston Preparatory Charter School in Boston in August 2020.

Mass. reports 229 new coronavirus cases among public school students, 21 among school staff members

The number of cases reported among staff members was at its lowest recorded single-week level yet, down from 30 new cases reported last week, and the number of student cases was at its lowest level since late December and early January, down from 377 reported last week.