EAST LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- East Longmeadow Public Schools plan to go hybrid starting next Tuesday after remaining all remote since the pandemic began.

But students and their families still have a choice.

“For myself, I just feel with numbers spiking, I’m not comfortable with it,” East Longmeadow parent Traci McCollum said.

McCollum spoke with Western Mass News about why she is not sending her three kids back into the classroom, even though the school district has decided to launch a hybrid learning model next week. She said her son has asthma, and she wants to protect him and his learning space.

“My son that has asthma ever since this whole thing has happened his anxiety has just spiked. And it breaks my heart to see him so scared. Now that I have him set up in a situation where he’s comfortable, he can do his work. I am not going to jolt him and take him out of that,” McCollum said.

The district does have safety protocols in place for in-person learning like masks, social distancing, and sanitation.

But the decision to send a child back into the classroom or stay remote is up to each family.

“Even when they’re in school it's not normal,” McCollum said. “There’s nothing normal. There’s no socialization. There’s masks all day. I heard the windows have to be open because they have to keep the airflow. So, I mean I just personally, they’re not going to have the full school vibe anyways.”

A teacher in the East Longmeadow school district who wished to remain anonymous told Western Mass News in a statement, “I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the students and staff because of the current high numbers. We also have a difficult time with coverage slash subbing even pre-COVID.”

Teachers do not have the option to stay remote themselves. They must report to work in-person starting next week.

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

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