Somerville Parents for an Equitable and Safe Opening (SPESO)


We are Somerville parents, teachers, health care providers, scientists, essential workers, and residents.

Guided by the best available science and data, and considering the extensive safety measures being put in place in Somerville Public Schools, we believe SPS can re-open safely, and that our most vulnerable students and younger learners should be back in the classroom NOW, with the rest of our students returning as soon as is supported by science.

Guided by scientific consensus, we affirm that:

  • Children have a fundamental right to education.

  • There are accumulating consequences to children with the absence of in-person learning, including depression, anxiety, obesity, suicidality, eating disorders, underreporting of child abuse and neglect, regression that may be irreversible or permanent.

  • The health and wellbeing of educators and staff is critical to quality education, and they deserve robust, evidence-based health and safety protections.

  • A return to in-person learning that includes masking, ventilation, physical distancing, universal testing, and contact tracing (all of which are elements of SPS’s safety plan) prevents in-school transmission, and protects students, educators, and staff, and by extension, their families.

We call for:

  1. Immediate return to full time, in-person learning, prioritizing Somerville’s high needs students (Special Ed, ELL) followed by our youngest learners (PK-5)

  1. Immediately following return of PK-5, staggered return to full time, in-person learning for grades 6-12 (barring major shift in scientific consensus)

  1. Prioritization of vaccination for all early childhood educators and SPS teachers and staff, especially those providing in-person education

  1. Guaranteed return to full time, in-person learning for all high-needs (Special Ed, ELL) and PK-5 students at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, followed immediately by grades 6-12 (barring major shift in scientific consensus regarding older students)

  1. An ongoing, high-quality remote learning option through at least the end of the 2021-22 school year

  1. A district campaign to educate SPS families on the safety of in-person school with the mitigations that have been put in place, and frequent communication with all SPS families (not just those able to attend formal city and School Committee meetings via Zoom), using clear, culturally and linguistically appropriate language

August 2, 2020

Establishes risks of remote learning and suggests strategies to return to in-person schooling safely

August 27, 2020

Requests establishment of metrics and timeline for phased reopening

November 30, 2020

Requests governor continue to prioritize schools and examine Somerville plan

Want to be heard?

Click the button below to launch an email to your representatives. The email list includes all School Committee & City Council members, as well as other city leaders directly involved in Somerville's Covid response.

***Please include your Ward # and/or street address when writing to your representatives.***

Too busy to write a thoughtful letter?

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