SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Ninety percent of Massachusetts school districts will have elementary school students back in school by April 5, but Springfield students are in that small percentage of districts who are not expected to be back in just a few weeks.
Springfield has been approved by the state to begin hybrid learning on April 5 with a full return in person by May 3 for K-5 grade. Some parents said they are in no rush to get their kids back in school.
“I’m still happy staying remote learning and not going back in person,” Springfield tenth grader Allen Jones said.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education approved Springfield Public Schools’ waiver to delay the full return of elementary school students.
This comes after DESE previously mandated all K-5 schools to go back to a traditional school day by April 5 with middle schools closely behind by April 28, but school districts who have been in a remote learning model all year had a chance to apply for an extension.
Springfield Elementary students will now begin a hybrid model on April 5 with a full return to the classroom by May 3.
Middle school students will be fully in person by May 10 and there is still no date for the return of high school students.
Springfield Superintendent Daniel Warwick said in part, “The extra time allotted for planning for full-time in-person learning will allow the district and our families to prepare for safe, effective, and quality full-time engagement.”
But some parents aren't in any rush to end remote learning.
“I really don’t want Allen back into the schools at all,” Jones’ grandmother Elena Barnett-Jones said.
Barnett-Jones said her grandson has opted for remote learning for the remainder of the year.
“He has an IEP, and this year has been amazing for him because he has gone from struggling grades to an honor student. He’s been an honor student this entire year,’ Barnett-Jones explained.
She said she has too many concerns about in-person learning for her to consider sending him back to school.
“The way they moved the seating they’re no longer six feet apart they’re closer together now, and to me, that’s dangerous,” Barnett-Jones said. “Are they really going to properly clean the schools when the students leave out of there every single day?”
Ninety percent of elementary schools will be back full-time by April 5. DESE said all elementary school students will be back by May 3. Parents can still opt-out and choose remote learning for the remainder of the year.