AGAWAM/SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Local educators are speaking out following the open listening sessions held at several local schools Thursday night.

On Friday, school districts must submit their preliminary models for returning to school this fall, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

During listening sessions with families, schools discussed the possibility of full-reopening, hybrid, and full remote.

Thursday night, heard from Springfield, Agawam, and Southwick-Tolland-Granville officials.

While some parents at these meetings spoke out in favor of seeing kids back in the classroom, the teachers Western Mass News spoke with those in favor of remote learning.

"Trying to carry out the services by myself you know through the computer is almost impossible," said an Agawam parent. 

Parents at Agawam's virtual school reopening meeting, expressed a multitude of opinions when it comes to sending their children back to school during COVID-19.

"Numbers were very fudged and unrealistic," said an Agawam parent.

Southwick-Granville-Tolland and Springfield school officials appearing to be against a fully in-person method of instruction...the former encouraged parents to choose between fully remote and hybrid.

Schools had to prepare all three preliminary models to submit to the state this week. The Massachusetts Teachers Association voiced their choice, supporting a fully remote start to the year.

"There are concerns about having adequate and appropriate PPE for both students and staff," said the president of the Springfield Education Association, Maureen Colgan-Posner.

Colgan-Posner said the district's size and age of the buildings would not stop the spread of the virus, even with social distancing and mask efforts.

"Whether it’s because it’s old and it has no true, no ventilation system or if it’s a newer building, we still need to make sure that the air quality in those buildings meets the guidelines," Colgan-Posner explained.

Western Mass News heard from other educators from another district, who asked the newsroom not to identify them.

One, citing Care of Elderly Relatives, saying quote:

"Teachers are being told to return or quit by the school committee, this is openly hostile to teachers. Many of us are now feeling like we have no options, no security, and will still have to risk our health as well as that of our loved ones.”

Another teacher fears even a hybrid situation, and said that young students will still struggle with basic hygiene, saying quote:

"The problem is that this year, forgetting to wash their hands or cover their mouth could mean someone loses their life."

Today was the deadline for schools to submit the preliminary plans to the state, the final plans are due August 10.

Springfield officials said they will announce their final decision on August 6, and that all parents will have the option to do remote learning only.

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

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