SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Public Schools plan to begin in-person learning April 5 upon approval of the district’s union.
According to a news release sent to 22News from the Springfield Public Schools spokesperson Azell Cavaan, the School Committee proposed a plan to start with students in grades pre-k through five; the district’s highest need Special Education students; students with limited or interrupted formal education; and vocational students in grades 10 through 12 on April 5. for in-person learning.
The plan was presented to the School Committee Thursday night also included a phased-in return of students in grades 6 through 8, followed by high school students. A vote to approve the plan is expected in the “coming weeks at a regularly scheduled meeting.”
The Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick says the in-person proposed plan is subject to Union negotiations and is in response to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education mandate of returning students to in-person learning five days a week in April.
“At some point, as health metrics continue to improve, we will need to take the remote and hybrid learning models off the table and return to a traditional school format,” Riley said.
Springfield students have not returned to school buildings since the beginning of the pandemic. Warwick said Springfield schools are contacting families and providing information about health and safety measures and the protocols, routines and practices of in-person learning.
“We have been working very hard ever since the pandemic first hit to put measures in place to help ensure a safe return and we are ready to go in that regard,” Warwick said, adding that the district has spent millions of dollars on COVID-related upgrades, equipment, and supplies. “Mayor Sarno and the School Committee made it very clear from the start, that health and safety of students and staff is the highest priority and, at every turn, they made the funding available to support that.”
Parents would still be able to choose remote learning for their child through the end of the year, Riley said, and there would be a waiver process for districts that might need a more incremental approach.
As of Thursday, State public health officials listed the City of Springfield in the “red zone.” The Springfield School district plans to apply for a waiver to allow the hybrid return rather than full-week return.