WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Students across western Massachusetts headed back to the classroom Monday, many of them in-person, after February break.
As coronavirus cases start to trend in the right direction, schools are easing restrictions and starting back up with a hybrid model.
It’s an exciting time for many families in western Massachusetts as some students now get to learn inside the classroom instead of learning remotely.
Melissa Provost is like many other parents in West Springfield - excited to see their kids head back into the classroom after February vacation during the pandemic.
“We are definitely going to take those first in-person pictures. I was talking to my husband because, how can we do something special for our third grader because it has been nearly a year,” Provost said.
Provost has two daughters, one is in kindergarten and the other is in third grade. On Thursday, the third grader will learn in-person for the first time in the pandemic.
West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt told Western Mass News the school district is offering a hybrid model for every grade level if they choose and they are hoping to extend classroom days soon.
“We are looking at, with the number of students in classes, we can start to move back to a four a week for the lower grades, depending on the numbers that are Cohort A and B versus those who are staying in C, which is full remote,” Reichelt explained.
West Springfield Public Schools are not the only district welcoming kids back to in-person classes.
Chicopee Public Schools are too with hybrid learning.
Over in Holyoke, the school district is following a hybrid model four days a week as well for students Pre-K to kindergarten.
Colleges are also making adjustments.
UMass Amherst is allowing students back into the classroom and is easing restrictions put in place two weeks ago after a major spike in coronavirus cases, but students do have to get tested twice a week for COVID-19
Both Reichelt and Provost agree that having kids learning in-person again is exciting.
“It’s fantastic to see how happy the kids are to be back is good and the teachers,” Reichelt added.
Provost said, “They get to see those peers and those admins that they missed, those interactions that they missed, their teachers…Just being in the building is a comfortable place for them.”
Reichelt told us about 75 percent of his school district has decided to learn with the hybrid model.