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Boston Public Schools Hold First Day Of Classes With All Students Learning Remotely

BOSTON (CBS) – Across Boston, the first-day-of-school jitters set in, as students headed back to school without setting foot in the buildings. Superintendent Brenda Cassellius told WBZ-TV, even with the challenges of remote learning, so far, so good.

"We all feel a little scared for today and it's a little bit different, and there is a little bit of anxiety that we're all feeling. We just want to let the kids know that if they need help we have support for them as well. We have our counselors and social workers standing by to support our students with any needs that they have whether it's navigating this new normal or whether is something else more personal to them," Cassellius said.

Erica Crowley read the rules on her daughter's first-grade classroom webpage to WBZ-TV. "Raise your hand to talk, listening, no eating during class, have fun and do your best," she said.

Her daughter Violet wished she could be in a class with other kids. "I want to go back to school," she said.

Tens of thousands of Boston families are navigating the same challenges.

Boston continues to distribute free lunches, and Monday some backpacks went out as well. Even though the City distributed more than 32,000 Chromebooks to families, some were still waiting when remote classes started. "I still didn't get it," said Ariana Ramon, from East Boston. "Maybe tomorrow," added her father.

Staff handed Chromebooks out at the Donald McKay School last week. The district is still waiting for 20,000 Chromebooks to be delivered. Officials said they're expecting shipments over the next few weeks.

Some schools have also put together learning kits. Students at the Eliot School in the North End picked them up last week. They include schedules and supplies for their first day.

All students are starting the year online. On October 1, the option of hybrid learning can begin for students with the highest needs. In mid-October, optional hybrid learning may begin for the youngest students. Middle school and high school students won't begin hybrid learning until November.

"There is absolutely no rush. Obviously we are working furiously to get the buildings ready by October 1st, but like the mayor said and I've said multiple times, if we're not ready or this virus throws us a curveball, we will not open unless it is safe to do so," said Cassellius.

Mayor Marty Walsh tweeted a message to the Boston Public Schools community.

"To all of the students out there please know that it's OK to feel nervous or uncertain. Nothing about 2020 has felt normal," Walsh said. "But remember that your city, and your mayor, have your back and we're here for you."

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