SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Students in Springfield Public Schools are getting ready to start returning to the classroom next Monday as the state begins to phase-out remote learning.
But some schools have already started. Western Mass News stopped by the Libertas Academy Charter School in Springfield to see how they are handling the new normal.
About 20 percent of students are learning in the classroom there. The interesting thing is that they are still working remotely with the rest of their class while being physically in school.
Spaced out, with masks on, students at Libertas Academy Charter School in Springfield are happy to be back in the classroom during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s been cool. I haven't socialized with anybody since like over a year already so I can actually socialize with people and make new friends,” eighth-grader Emmanuel Roman said.
The school has students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. As of last week, about 20 percent of students are learning inside of the classroom.
“We are prioritizing our students that need the most support so our students who have struggled the most throughout this pandemic,” Libertas Academy Charter School Founder and Executive Director Modesto Montero said.
Montero said about 50 percent of the student body will be back in the classroom on April 12. Many have chosen to stay remote through the end of this school year. He said the students' safety is priority.
“That included ensuring that we were able to include social distancing, that all of the desks are a minimum of three feet apart, and then six feet when we are eating nutrition which you can imagine logistically was really challenging,” Montero explained.
For Roman, he said it has been a challenging year as a student, but he feels good knowing everyone is going through the pandemic together.
“I am getting used to it. It’s new, but we will get through this together,” Roman said.
Looking ahead to next year, the charter school is launching a high school with the hope that everyone will be learning in-person.