Massachusetts’ school reopening plan begins with the state’s youngest students, requiring school districts to offer five days of in-person learning per week to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The policy took effect on Monday.

Middle schools serving sixth, seventh and eighth graders will fully reopen later this month, on April 28. High schools are still awaiting guidance.

But many of the state’s largest school districts — including Boston and Worcester — have already received permission to delay the return to in-person learning by several weeks.

The only schools in the South Coast to receive waivers are the Alma Del Mar charter schools in New Bedford, according to the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

Elementary schools in Dartmouth and Fall River followed the state’s schedule and reopened on Monday. Other districts, including Westport, Fairhaven and New Bedford, have reopened ahead of schedule.

English language learners and students considered “at-risk” in New Bedford have been able to attend all their classes in-person since September. The city’s elementary schools started bringing other cohorts of students back into the buildings more than a month before the rest of the state.

Families uneasy about returning to in-person classes have the option to stick with remote learning until the end of the school year.

Ben Berke is the South Coast Bureau Reporter for The Public’s Radio. He can be reached at