Westfield superintendent calls on DESE to provide more detailed COVID-19 guidance

On Monday, school superintendents across the state received a COVID-19 update for the upcoming school year from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Educa
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 4:26 PM EDT
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WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - On Monday, school superintendents across the state received a COVID-19 update for the upcoming school year from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

However, Western Mass News has found out that some on the call did not find it very informative.

We spoke with the school superintendent in Westfield who told us that most of the state’s COVID-19 guidance is optional, and it is still unclear what should happen if a child tests positive this fall.

“What’s happened is, we had a year and a half of mandates, and now, the state is saying it’s really more local control,” said Westfield Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski. “So, there is no mask mandate that will be coming forward from the state.”

Czaporowski told Western Mass News what he got out of the phone call with DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley on Monday. No mask mandate may be the case, but not all precautions are lifted.

“We know that you have to wear a mask in the nurse’s office. That’s the same as last year,” Czaporowski said. “And they’re still recommending the three feet of distancing as much as possible in the schools to keep students somewhat separated.”

We asked Czaporowski: What if a student gets sick with COVID? What is the quarantine period and the guidance for that?

“DESE hasn’t officially released a guidance document,” he told us. “That’s supposed to be coming out by the end of the week. They were waiting to see what the CDC was going to release this week first.”

As for another health issue, we wanted to know if parents are calling Westfield Public Schools with monkeypox concerns. Czaporowski has not heard anything yet.

“So it has not come to my attention yet, but there is going to be a document coming from the state regarding monkeypox, as well, and what precautions we can take,” he said.

He shared what the school district has received so far.

“We did receive a little information just about what it is, how it’s been spread, and what we can do in terms of vaccinations,” Czaporowski said.

As for staffing, Czaporowski said that they had 30 open teacher positions at the start of the summer. So far, they have filled half of those vacancies.