Massachusetts to revisit “red zone” metrics that measures community coronavirus transmission risks

BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 24: Education Commissioner Jeff Riley speaks during Governor Charlie Baker’s press conference. POOL PHOTO
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BOSTON – State public health officials are planning updates to the stoplight metric that measures community COVID-19 transmission risks that will incorporate examples where cases at colleges, nursing homes, or jails may push an entire community into the red category and affect decisions about in-person learning, according to the state education commissioner.

“We’ve seen how those places can skew a city’s or town’s data, and so we’re hoping that when the new metric comes out it will take that into account,” Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley told the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education during a meeting Tuesday in Malden.

Riley also said that most of the districts it contacted to question their decisions not to move ahead with in-person learning have since progressed to in-person learning or are planning for it, although he mentioned two school districts, without naming them, that he said will be audited. The News Service has learned the two districts are East Longmeadow and Watertown.

This is a developing story.