AGAWAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A stand out was held, on Friday, in Agawam. Parents were there trying to share their concerns after the town announced Thursday night, they will be going back to remote learning for at least two weeks after the COVID-19 metrics in the teachers' contracts were met.

The parents' messages seemed to be heard loud and clear. The Agawam Education Association (AEA) will now return to the table to re-negotiate the metrics in their contracts.

"We all want our kids back in school. Nobody’s been asking us what we think, so maybe we should go and tell them what we think," said Agawam parent Michael Perry.

Parents gathered in the middle of a snowstorm, Friday morning. They were all angered by the requirement to pivot from their hybrid learning model to remote learning, after a 3 percent positivity rate of those who tested for coronavirus hit Thursday night, a metric in teachers' contracts that require a pullback on in-person learning.

"Do they not care what the parents are going through when you shut down the schools," said Agawam parent Debbie Whitehead.

"I'd much rather be at school," said Agawam student Allison Henry.

Some parents also said the metric is flawed, but their concerns seem to have been heard loud and clear.

"That’s exactly why the union came back to the table with us because they realize the parents are being negatively impacted and are very concerned," said Agawam Mayor Bill Sapelli.

Sapelli told Western Mass News the AEA is now in the process of re-negotiating the COVID-19 metrics in their contracts.

"They realize the flaws in it based on their experience, and like everyone else, this corona thing is new to all of us. We're learning as we go along," he noted.

He also said he’s grateful for the union coming forward and hopes to get this straightened out as soon as possible.

"If we can agree on this language, we would bring it back to the school committee as early as next week, in the special meeting, and get the new metric set up," he explained. "So, we could maybe get kids back to school earlier than we were expecting."

Sapelli said a meeting will be scheduled to approve the new metrics once they have agreed to a decision.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

(3) comments

Guest 456

The Mayor and the school committee both knowingly voted for the metrics as part of the MOU now all of the sudden it's all on the union? This looks like a relatively small group of parents. What about doing a story about Parents and students who are concerned about safety? Teachers and staff are feeling pretty unsafe and demoralized these days. These are folks who are well educated and put their hearts and soul into taking care of and teaching children and this is the thanks they get. Sad. How about doing a story on them and what they are sacrificing!? At the very least they should have the right to have safe working conditions.


Parents were surveyed and invited to write to school committee and join a conference call. What more can you ask for? Everyone has the right to express themselves so kudos for concerned parents assembling. However, be truthful and please acknowledge the real threat this virus poses to everyone involved in education (children, teachers, staff, nurses, EMTs, etc.). Administration agreed to terms, so don’t point fingers. Moving the goal posts now is not the answer. What happens in a month when this second wave is in high gear? Public safety is the priority in a pandemic. Pandemic fatigue is a real thing and I think we’re seeing it. Stay safe.


God forbid you have to be parents lmao, when all your kids get sick WE DONT WANT TO HEAR IT 🗣

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.