CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- It's been nearly two weeks since Governor Charlie Baker announced a public health emergency and ordered a four month ban on the sale of all vaping products and devices.
While health experts investigate what's causing these vaping-related deaths and injury, local school districts also continue to take steps to keep their students safe.
Schools like Chicopee High School and Chicopee Comprehensive High School said they've been dealing with students vaping or using e-cigarettes for about a year now.
They've made some big changes in how they are monitoring the problem and how they handle punishing students who are caught.
Chicopee High School Principal Carol Kruser said vaping has been a problem in the school for more than a year impacting students across the board.
"Some of the kids definitely know more about it now than they did a year ago so hopefully they’re getting the message, but it’s still something we’re looking at closely and having to battle every day," Principal Kruser said.
Principal Kruser explained the type of students that may or may not be involved with vaping.
"There’s really no stereotypical person that is vaping. It can be quick and secretive. A lot of times you catch kids if they’re in social groups or if they’re just sort of blatant about it, but you can be very sneaky," Principal Kruser said.
The school has taken critical steps to help monitor student's actions and their main focus are the bathrooms.
We do have more teacher monitors at the bathrooms. Just the anticipation the adults are going to be around, they’re going to be opening the bathrooms if needed just to check and see what’s going on. They sign in to go into the bathrooms so that we can see who is in and out and if there’s a pattern," Principal Kruser explained.
Over at Chicopee Comp, Principal Derek Morrison explained how they've put in new technology to try and catch students vaping.
"The district has been responsible for putting in technology that helps alert us when these devices are being used in our bathrooms. I won’t tell you what bathrooms they’re in or where they are, but we do have that technology and we’re grateful for it and it is successfully working," Principal Morrison said.
Administrators told Western Mass News they can't punish their way out of the vaping problem.
It's important to help students and educate them on the health risks.
"We’ve also had students that have had severe reactions to these things, medical emergencies using THC in these. We didn’t know this was a possibility at the time. We have had a couple incidents of that. The current ban I think is huge. The FDA weighing in on that. I think the time frame of the FDA deciding this is bad for someone’s health, especially when this feels like this stuff is being targeted to our youth today, I applaud the governor for making some steps in that direction to help us keep this out of our kids hands," Principal Morrison noted.
Chicopee High School said so far this year they've caught around seven students with vapes.
And over at Chicopee Comp they tell us they've dealt with less than five.