SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News is your Vaccine Authority.
As more people are getting vaccinated, we’re getting answers on how this affects quarantine procedures for students, staff, and teachers who are back in at school for in-person classes.
Western Mass News reached out to a number of local school districts regarding their quarantine protocols, and how that may change, as more people get their shots.
Right now, vaccinated Bay State residents don’t need to quarantine if they travel or are exposed to COVID-19, according to Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines.
Western Mass News wanted to know if this guidance was being following at local schools where full-time in-person learning is back for many.
We learned public schools in Palmer and Easthampton tell us vaccinated students and staff don't need to quarantine after traveling or if exposed. Chicopee as well said their schools follow all federal and state health guidelines.
In Springfield, however, a two-week quarantine is protocol for everyone, whether people get the shot or not.
Dan Warwick, superintendent of Springfield Public Schools, said it’s still too early to lift the measure.
“Right now, the community’s in red, and we’re following those precautions,” Superintendent Warwick said.
He added despite the city's classification as a high-risk community, taking the lead from health officials is paying off.
“Because we’ve listened to all the medical experts, you know, I think we’ve made all the right decisions, and things are going really well, and we’ll continue to do that,” Superintendent Warwick said.
In Palmer, case numbers remain low at Old Mill Pond Elementary School, where students have been learning in-person since August.
School nurse Mary Ellen Blanchette said it's a team effort.
“Our administration has been fabulous, parents have been fabulous calling me with questions, and not sending their students to school sick,” Blanchette said.
Blanchette credits social distancing, Binax now tests, and pool testing for their limited cases. She also recognized the need to play it safe and step in in certain situations.
“In a school like this with little children, sometimes we have to go and directly look at the classrooms because some children are not capable of wearing masks because of their medical issues,” Blanchette explained.
But the school is also combating recent COVID cases disguised as allergies.
“If they cannot prove that to me with a doctor’s note, I send them to their doctor just to be sure before they send their child to school,” Blanchette said.
The school is already looking beyond the last day of classes.
“Summer school’s on. Summer school is on with the same protocols we’re following now,” Blanchette said.