(WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News is Your School Authority and is getting you answers to help prepare you for whatever school is like this fall.
The most recent concern comes from a mother whose child has Autism.
"Hi, I'm concerned because I have a five year old and he's Autistic. These kids don't wash their hands when they go to the bathroom, you have to constantly direct them...so me, I have underlying illness and my mom has underlying illness, so I'm just wondering how I'm going to do this," said Rosemary Heslope in a voicemail to our School Authority hotline.
Heslope, a Springfield mother of two, called our Western Mass News School Authority hotline concerned about protocols in place for the special education department.
We're getting answers from Westfield Public Schools Supt. Stefan Czaporowski and what their school is planning for.
"Depending on the program, there are some programs where our staff will have gowns, face sheilds and masks. Our goal is to supply as much PPE to our staff, so they're safe working in the classrooms because we're looking to bring in our high-needs students once class begins," Czaporowski explained.
However, Czaporowski said it's on a case-by-case basis.
"If we think they'll benefit from additional material, gowns...again, we ordered enough to cover us through January. We want to make sure we have enough material for everyone," Czaporowski added.
John Franzoni, superintendent of the North Berkshire School Union, said they've purchased temporary desk dividers.
"They’ll divide between a students and a teacher who are working face-to-face. It will be some sort of clear material. Speech, for example, you can’t do that with a mask, so we want to make sure the student and the teacher are protected, so while we’re doing speech instruction, we will set up the temporary dividers so the teacher and the students can interact without a mask on," Franzoni said.
For both, it will all vary between each student and their needs
"We want to educate the parents as to why this is necessary, but our staff will be wearing their PPE and if that particular instance a student takes it off, for example, it might be addressed a little differently depending on what the students needs are," Czaporowski noted.
In Springfield, all students, including special education department, will be remote. They will be reaching out to each student.
In Chicopee, face shields may be an option for those students with medical, behavioral, or other challenges who are unable to wear masks or face coverings.