BOSTON (AP) — Schools that are teaching online during the pandemic will be required to give every student at least some live interaction with a teacher every day under new rules approved Tuesday by Massachusetts officials.
The state's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted new standards around online education amid concerns that it has left many students dealing with anxiety and depression.
"Many of our children are struggling with the isolation that comes with remote or even hybrid learning," Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said as he proposed the standards.
Under the new rules, schools offering a mix of online and in-person classes must average at least 3.5 hours a day of live instruction, which can include online or in-person teaching. Schools that are fully online will have to average 4 hours a day of live teaching.
All schools must offer some live interaction every day. The rules take effect Jan. 19.
Riley proposed the changes after a state survey found that many students had at least one day every two weeks without live interaction with a teacher. About one-third of schools currently fail to meet the new standards, the state found.
The measure was approved with a vote of 7-4.
State education officials previously urged schools to prioritize in-person learning but had set no standards for live instruction.
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