Governor Charlie Baker announced on April 21 that public and private schools in Massachusetts would remain closed through the end of the school year.
Cambridge School Volunteers has expanded the number of high schoolers matched with tutors to 26. The organization is also actively serving 16 upper school students with virtual one-to-one tutoring.
The governor’s move was prompted by concerns about the health and safety of children and educators during the COVID-19 pandemic. Merrie Najimy of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, reportedly urged the governor to take this step, according to the Boston Globe.
“It was a necessary decision to protect the health of our communities across the state,” Najimy said in a statement, noting the state and districts need to assess how well or not remote learning is working. “We also need to work together to figure out how to provide extra support for high-need students and how to prepare for the significant social, emotional and academic needs we expect to see among our students when schools reopen in the fall.”
Employees of Cambridge School Volunteers have been working remotely from home, including during the present school vacation week, to collect and process tutoring requests from high schoolers as well as volunteer applications from new volunteers. In addition, CSV staff have connected with teachers and other school staff to determine the right approach for virtual academic support. CSV staff are connecting with families of upper school students who had previously been referred for tutoring support. CSV Director of High School Programs Jay Bernal and Director of K–8 Programs Kasey Appleman, along with their staff, are re-training volunteers to deliver virtual services.
At Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, CRLS, 26 students are now receiving tutoring or mentoring from the agency’s volunteers, up from 16 on March 23. Three types of service—academic subject tutoring, college and career preparation, and mentoring in time management strategies during the COVID-19 crisis, are available free to both CRLS and High School Extension program students. Students may request help by visiting bit.ly/virtualtutorscamb.
CSV’s upper school team has succeeded in establishing virtual tutoring for 15 tutor-student pairs in Grades 6–8. These pairs worked together in person at CSV after-school Learning Centers at each of the five upper schools prior to the closure of schools due to the public health concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Responding to the governor’s announcement of schools remaining closed for the duration of the school year, Supt. Kenneth Salim writes, “Although school buildings will remain closed, this does not mean the school year has ended. Our educators will continue to support distance learning and students are expected to engage every school day.”
Dr. Salim’s most recent video message to the entire Cambridge Public Schools community, including educators, students, families, and support staff, noted the extraordinary efforts of CPS staff in balancing family responsibilities at home with ramping up distance learning for students on short notice. View the video at this link.