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Boston Superintendent Tells State Curley School Must Stay Closed For 10 Days After COVID Outbreak

BOSTON (CBS) - Boston School Superindent Brenda Cassellius has said the Curley School must stay closed for at least 10 days after a COVID-19 outbreak at the school.

This comes after the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley approved only a portion of the remote learning days requested by the Curley School, asking the school to open on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

The school was closed on Nov. 9 after 46 students tested positive over about two weeks.

Riley said the department was in the process of working with the school to mitigate the outbreak when the school department decided to shut down.

In a letter to the mayor, superintendent and Boston School Committee, Riley wrote "It appears in the case of the Curley, a decision to close took place without appropriate consultation with DESE."

In a Nov. 13 letter from Boston Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius in response to Riley, she noted, "Based on your recommendations and the need to balance broader public health
responsibilities, the Boston Public Health Commission continues to recommend a 10-day quarantine period."

The commissioner recommended several steps, including asking the school district and the Boston Public Health Commission to set up testing that would begin on Nov. 14.

Cassellius said in her letter that only one vendor of the three the school district contacted would be able to begin testing as early as Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and would only have the capacity to test about 100 individuals. The Curley School has approximately 1,000 students and more than 100 staff members.

Although the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offered to assist with testing, Cassellius said that due to Curley's diverse community, students may have difficulty getting to the testing site and the 36- to 48-hour turnaround time on tests would not allow students to safely return to school.

"After careful consideration of your response, we still believe that remaining closed for the full 10 days is in the best interest of our students, staff and their families," Cassellius wrote. That would mean a return to school on Nov. 22.

Cassellius said the school would be deep-cleaned during the week and the school would hold a vaccine clinic for students and staff, as well as reinforce proper mask-wearing and promote frequent hand-washing.

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