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.