Westfield Public Schools are heading back for in-person learning, but the timeline looks different from how the school originally planned.

WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Now that the holidays are two weeks behind us, many school districts in western Massachusetts are making the call about whether to bring students back to school in-person or keep them remote.

Westfield Public School Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski told Western Mass News that based on the way COVID numbers are trending, the school district has decided to stay remote and begin a slower phase in of students starting Tuesday.

Most Westfield public school students will continue to learn remotely as they have been since December 18 as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

“We had a potential cluster that could have been a spreader event, so we wanted to make sure to keep everybody safe, so we went remote,” Czaporowski explained.

Czaporowski told Western Mass News based on the COVID-19 cases the city and state are seeing, the district will move forward with a more phased in approach.

“Basically took the recommendation of our health department, who said that in the way the cases are rising right now, that he didn’t think it was really safe to bring everybody back to our hybrid model,” Czaporowski explained.

Starting on Tuesday, students enrolled in the Westfield Technical Academy grades 9 and 12, the East Mountain transition program, and students in high-needs learning programs will begin in-person learning.

One parent we spoke to said the school district made the right call.

“I feel that it’s a good approach because being that the numbers are rising, we don’t want out family to get sick,” said Diane Burks of Westfield.

On another topic, the Westfield School Committee will meet next week to discuss the future of winter sports.

“So our students will be practicing a modified practice schedule until [January] 21, but then we will discuss how to move forward with athletics,” Czaporowski said.

In two weeks, the Westfield School Committee will meet again to decide if more students can return to in-person learning on February 1.

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