CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Chicopee Mayor John Vieau provided an update on the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic Friday afternoon.
The Mayor of Chicopee announced the city’s COVID-19 testing site will be changing locations. The new location will be located at the RiverMills Senior Center at 5 W. Main Street in Chicopee for residents and first responders.
It used to be at Comprehensive High School but with some students heading back to class next week, as part of the hybrid learning, city leaders felt it was important to change its location.
“We will have vehicles lining up on West Main Street entering at the intersection of Grove and West Main and going in front of the former Uniroyal property to access the test site,” said Mayor Vieau.
Mayor John Vieau said there will not be any testing on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The test site will run from 8 a.m. until noon on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
According to this week’s risk assessment report by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Chicopee has added 717 COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, totaling 3,431 cases overall. Their positive test rate is 11.31 percent putting them in the state’s high-risk category.
Reopening schools with hybrid model
The Superintendent of Chicopee Public Schools said in a news conference Friday that preschool through first-grade students along with their most vulnerable learners will be back in the building.
That’s about 830 students spread out over 15 different locations. According to Superintendent Lynn Clark, that will be 11 percent of the school population and will be some of the students who were in the classroom between September and November.
Superintendent Lynn Clark said the decision was based on guidance from the health metrics committee and medical professionals, but students still need to be safe.
“I implore you to please work with us with the core four: mask wearing, physical distancing hand washing and sanitizing,” said Clark.
She added, “I know this is taking a toll on students, families and staff but as promised the safety of students and staff during this public health process has been on the forefront of our minds.”
Clark said they have had contractors examing the air quality in the buildings, and said all classrooms will now be over the required air exchange rate.
The superintendent said they’re also coordinating with the city’s educators association to figure out what the rest of the school could look like, and if other students will be able to come back to class.
Chicopee Mayor John Vieau said the city needs to finish strong, but there is still a long way to go before the general population can receive the vaccine.
“We’re still in phase one. so people are calling about Phase 2,” he said. “We’re not there yet. And we have to be patient.”
As vaccines go out to first responders and long-term care facilities, Mayor Vieau said steps still need to be taken to curb the virus.
The superintendent of schools added they are working with the city’s educators association to figure out what the rest of the school year will look like, and if more students will be able to come back to class.