SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- While the first week of school is wrapping up for many districts across the Bay State, it's a different story for one local private school.

The Pioneer Valley Christian Academy in Springfield has now been open for 14 days with the majority of their students learning in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We know for many parents, it's a challenge to have children at home,” said headmaster Timothy Duff.

Pioneer Valley Christian Academy is now wrapping up nearly three weeks of students from pre-school through grade 12, learning in school every day.

"We don't have any illusion that it's going to be perfect. It's not, but we think we're doing the best we can,” Duff added.

Duff told Western Mass News that about a dozen of the school's 290 students are learning remotely this fall, but a majority of parents are pleased with in-person learning.

To get here, the school formed a committee, receiving input from teachers, parents, administration members, and medical professionals.

The group pays close attention to state guidelines.

"I have to say that Massachusetts has done a phenomenal job…some really good documents on both setting up your facility, as well as protocols for the children, as well as parents, as well as staff,” said Bob Jesperson, director of advancement at PVCA.

Some of the new guidelines in place include restricting who comes into the school building, handwashing stations upon entry, distance signs on floor, and the creation of a teacher task force for the distance learners who are enrolled.

When possible, teachers are also taking their students outside.

"We have set-up classrooms. We have 22 chairs under seven tents out back. Teachers have an easel and they can go out and teach their class,” said Eric Refsnider, program director at the school.

Officials say Pre-K through first grade is separated, as they are not required to wear masks.

As for the older students, they said it's not a big deal.

"Wearing the mask definitely takes getting used to, but we've been doing it since March, so it's good. The teachers are doing real well,” said freshman Garrett Anderson.

Junior Allison Witherow added, "After about a week, it wasn't bad. At the beginning, it was kind of warm, so it would get kind of annoying by the end of the day, but now, I've gotten used to it and it's gotten cooler, so it's been fine."

So far, school officials said they have had no positive cases of COVID-19 on campus.

They said it's up to the students and their families to follow protocols to try and keep it that way.

"Of course, we're assuming that all of the parents and the students, when they're not on site, are going to be taking care of themselves as well, and being careful,” Duff said.

Stay up-to-date with the latest news and weather.  Download the Western Mass News App

You can now get the latest Western Mass News headlines on Alexa.  Click here to activate the skill.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel

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

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.