WILBRAHAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Private schools across western Massachusetts are seeing an increase in student enrollment as the start of the school year inches closer.

This increase comes after many public school districts have opted for remote learning.

A large number of school districts across western Massachusetts have decided on remote or hybrid learning this upcoming fall.

Educators said these decisions were made to protect students, staff, and the communities they live in, but those decisions are causing parents to rethink their child’s back-to-school plan.

“We have seen an increase in interest, 60 percent increase in interest, since late spring through the summer in both day students and domestic boarding students,” said Brian Easler, head of school at Wilbraham and Monson Academy.

Easler told Western Mass News that they have seen an increase in interest across the board from all different grade levels and communities.

“We’ve had interest from all the local areas – Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke, everywhere - and although we are a private school, we have a significant financial aid program,” Easler added.

Easler said what Wilbraham and Monson Academy has to offer is attracting students.

“We attribute that to our hybrid learning program that allows us to teach in-person all the time, but also at the same time, students or teachers can learn remotely from off-campus if necessary,” Easler explained.

In addition to socially distanced classrooms and improved air quality, Easler believes it’s the testing that will be done right on-campus that sets the institution apart from the rest.

“We have the significant testing program on-campus – students, faculty, staff, cleaning crew, dining hall staff, everyone will be tested twice a week with no more than four day between tests,” Easler noted.

It’s less than two weeks for the start of school for students here at Wilbraham and Monson Academy and, typically, enrollment is closed by now. The school said they will be keeping enrollment open for interested students.

“We realize families are going to have needs and we still have some spaces left, so under circumstances, we will enroll admission into the beginning of the school year,” Easler said.

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