SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- As we're ending the first week of August, school districts across the state are making important decisions on how they will reopen come fall.

Their final plans must be submitted to the state next week.

In Springfield, the fully remote model was approved by the city's school committee last night. Following the storm, other districts have been delayed in making their decisions, and are just now starting to vote.

The continued threat of COVID-19 means school committees must decide how they will get their curriculum to students, without getting them sick.

Western Mass News has compiled the decisions from districts across the region. In Hampden County, schools have elected either fully remote or hybrid.

One notable exception is the Southwick-Tolland-Granville District, where elementary students have the option of either fully remote or fully in-person, with no hybrid choice.

Agawam School Committee decided to go hybrid Friday morning.

"I’m very disappointed with the vote," said Agawam School Committee member Wendy Rua.

Rua is one of three school committee members who voted no.

The other four, electing a model where two cohorts of students will each spend either Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday in the building. The other three days a week will be remote, with Wednesday designated for cleaning.

"50-percent of our student body in the building at any given time," Rua explained.

Decisions are trickling in from Hampshire County schools as well.

Northampton voted full remote Friday morning, Easthampton’s vote is expected Friday night, but their mayor told Western Mass News what the community should expect.

“I’m not feeling that it’s safe to open public buildings to the public," said Easthampton Mayor Nicole Lachapelle.

Lachapelle has ordered public buildings closed, which she said includes Easthampton School District.

She also said given the air quality in the schools and the contagious nature of coronavirus...it’s unlikely she will reopen the facilities.

"I’m really watching these public health metrics and considering extending my mayoral order, that all public buildings stay closed until September 1, and maybe 80-percent there to extend the September 1 deadline further into the fall," she said.

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

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(2) comments


kids need to be back IN SCHOOL !

Adam Howard

I hope Massachusetts Schools see the wisdom of remote learning. If not, if you can, home school, your child for a while (or ask your parent to homeschool you).

The vaccine is expected to be publicly available between late September or mid-December (assuming the timetable keeps). That means there will be a small lapse between school begins and when the vaccine will become available. It goes without saying that when it (the vaccine) is first made available to the public, many people will rush to get it, so there is the question of whether the supply can meet the demand (at least as first).

4% (on average) of the infected population (3.5% in America) die from COVID-19. The coronavirus is not the flu, and while a preexisting condition can make you more high-risk, it is not exclusive (seemingly healthy people die too).

The acceptable total loss concerning children's lives should be ZERO (0), as no children should be asked to (possibly) cut their own life short-- just as no parent should ever be put in a position of knowing the pain of outliving their child. Equally, no child should be asked to be put in a place of growing up without their mother or father or both to satisfy a bureaucratic policy.

The whole point of closing schools early at the beginning of 2020 was we knew COVID-19 could quickly spread within the school systems. Cramming children into a confided space each morning for about 7 hours each day, then having them return home, and repeating the process daily, was and is a recipe for disaster during a pandemic.

Since we are talking about education, let's do some simple math. I like math.

As of only a week ago, 17,036,131 infected worldwide and 666,132 dead. That is 3.9101%. In the USA, a total of 4,524,515 have been infected with 152,862 dead. That is 3.3785%. Right here in Massachusetts, there have been 108,740 infected with 8, 331 dead. That is 7.6613%.

But it is not the 1% or less I keep seeing reposted on social media repeatedly. The URL that is commonly shared, pointing to the CDC website, that most people do not click, leads to influenza (flu) totals. Proving social media is not the most reliable source to obtain news and information. -- That said, I'll take math over opinion any day of the week!

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