SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Springfield Public Schools announced the first day of school has officially been pushed back from August 31st to September 15th, kindergarten has been pushed back to September 21st, and preschool to September 28th.

On Thursday, three local school districts, Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional, as well as Agawam, and Springfield, holding meetings to go over their plans to educate students this fall.

After months of waiting and wondering, we may have a clearer idea of what the new school year will look like as September fast approaches.

"From our point of view, the pediatric community, many of the child welfare folks, many want to see schools reopen. I think that's in the best interest of kids, but part of the reason we asked folks to develop three plans for this is that it's going to be hard to tell where regions of the commonwealth and communities of the commonwealth are as we head into the fall," said Governor Charlie Baker.

The governor touched on a requirement from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DOE), all school districts must submit an in-person plan, a remote learning plan, and a hybrid option for both, and the deadline is Friday.

Locally, several districts held informational meetings for concerned parents and educators.

Meeting that would have normally been held in person, but because of the pandemic were relegated to phones and computer screens.

Agawam set up a listening session over the phone - with concerned parents listening in - and providing comments.

"I am urging school committee members to vote in favor of a full return to school," said Agawam parent.

Meantime, the Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District took there meeting to zoom, showing a video from the department of elementary and secondary education...

"There will be important measures that are going to be implemented at each school to make sure that kids stay safe," said Southwick school officials.

Presenting their initial re-opening plans, stressing parents will have a choice between the full remote option, where students exclusively learn from home, and the hybrid option, where they'll also attend class part-time.

A similar meeting from Springfield officials and educators, explaining their plans through full screens.

Springfield Public School Superintendent Daniel Warwick said after a feasibility study, they decided full school re-entry was not a possibility in September.

"We think the best option is for us to continue to move towards opening with a hybrid model," Warwick explained.

But he added - like many other districts - depending on what happens in the future with infection rates, the schools must be ready to move to a different model.

As school districts continue to finalize their back-to-school agendas, the governor announced he will allocate more than $50 million in federal CARES Act funds to improve early literacy, expand remote learning opportunities, and cover costs associated with reopening certain schools and colleges.

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

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