School Reopening Family Toolkit

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the 2020-2021 school year will be unlike any other school year for families. We have provided answers to some of the most common questions we have received from families. 

Please note that because we are in a pandemic, the situation can change quickly due to new information or guidelines from federal, state, or local authorities. We encourage families to remain in close and constant contact with their schools for the most up-to-date information. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When will my child’s school reopen for the year? 

In Massachusetts, school year reopening dates vary by district and in some cases, by school. Additionally, all school districts have been told they must prepare three different types of reopening plans.

What are the three types of reopening plans for schools?

  • Remote: Also called virtual learning or distance learning, remote plans mean that students are not on site at a school building. Students are typically learning through some kind of device, such as a Chromebook, iPad, or other tablet or computer device.

  • In-Person: Typically, an in-person plan refers to a full, traditional reopening of schools with full-day instruction on site. Mask requirements, cleaning protocols, seating arrangements, modified activities and schedules, and other additional safety requirements are in place for all students and staff to prevent or slow down the possibility of transmitting coronavirus within the school building.

  • Hybrid: In a hybrid plan, students receive instruction through a mix of remote and in-person learning environments. Students may attend for school in-person for a few days or a week at a time, followed by a few days or a week of remote instruction. How a hybrid plan is structured varies by school.

Is a remote plan the same as home schooling my child?

No. A remote reopening plan refers to at-home instruction, but your child is still enrolled at a public or private school. Instruction is created by and taught by your school’s teachers but is delivered remotely, meaning your child is not physically on site at school.

In Massachusetts, families may provide an education for their children at home—separate and independent of any public or private school. This is known as “home schooling.” When you choose to home school your child, the home schooling program (also known as an education plan) must be approved in advance by the superintendent or school committee of the home district. For Boston residents, this means your child's education plan must be submitted to and approved by Boston Public Schools' Office of Expanded Learning Opportunities. 

For more information about home schooling requirements for families, please visit this Home Schooling Quick Start Guide from the Massachusetts Home Learning Association (MHLA). The MHLA is a non-profit advocacy and education organization which endorses home learning as an alternative to public or private schooling.

For more information about starting the home schooling application process in Boston, please visit the Homeschooling page at the Office of Expanded Learning Opportunities at the BPS website. If you have additional questions, please email

When will my child go back to school in person?

This information varies by school. We advise all families to check with their individual school. Our School Profiles now include a section with the school year Start Date, Reopening Plan Type, and a link to that school’s Reopening Plan, as shown below:

school profile with covid-19 reopening plan update


Will my school close again during this year like it did in the spring?

It is possible for individual schools or entire districts to close for any length of time because of coronavirus transmission or cases within the community. We advise all families to remain in close contact with their schools and to follow any orders from their local and state public health departments regarding school closures.

What if my child has an IEP or 504 plan, or needs other special or English Language Learner services?

Please contact your school directly, as some schools and districts may have separate in-person options for students who need special services.

Where can I find more information about school reopening?

You can click the link for your school’s Reopening Plan on their School Profile here at our website.

Who can I contact if I still have questions about my child’s school this year?

For students in a BPS school, you can call the BPS Helpline at 617-635-8873. For non-BPS schools, please contact your school directly; contact information can be found on all School Profiles at our website.

Where can I get more information about coronavirus updates in Massachusetts?

  • Massachusetts: For more information about the coronavirus, please visit the Massachusetts COVID-19 Updates and Information page. Text COVIDMA to 888-777 to receive up-to-date alerts about the coronavirus in Massachusetts sent right to your phone. Text COVIDMAESP to 888-777 for text messages in Spanish.

  • Boston: For more information about the coronavirus in the city of Boston, please visit the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Boston page. Text BOSCOVID to 888-777 to receive up-to-date alerts about the coronavirus in Boston sent right to your phone. Text alerts about coronavirus in Boston are also available in 10 other languages; please visit this page for more information.

  • COVID-19 Testing: If you need to get tested, please visit the Get Tested MA! page, which includes a COVID-19 testing locator tool.

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