Greenfield Center School begins academic year with outdoor classes

Franklin County

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Students, parents and teachers are trying to figure out their own ways to keep everyone safe as schools begin to reopen.

The Center School in Greenfield fully opened Wednesday morning. Instead of having to worry about crowded hallways or classrooms they took learning outside for some fresh air.

83 students in grades preschool to 8th Grade arrived to school for a fully outdoor program. A program that includes tents, open fields and even the forest used as spaces for learning and recreation. Students are required to wear masks at all times unless they’re sitting, stationary and six feet apart.

School leaders said the decision was made due to the fact that outdoor learning was already a big part of their curriculum. Parents students and teachers are very happy that nature is part of the new normal.

“Yesterday I saw a kid not say goodbye to their parent, they got out of the car and ran to our tent because they were so excited to be outside. Our early ed program has been going outside more and more since the beginning. This is our 7th year so for us to be able to be outside the whole time feels like a step in the next direction, even though we were forced to do it because of the pandemic,” said teacher Amy Jackson.

Now as to what happens with inclement weather, the head of school said no final plan has been put in place but she said some learning could happen inside the building with remote learning as well.

22News spoke with Lauren Obregon who’s child was hesitant about starting kindergarten after being home for so long, “There was a lot of tearful moments, ‘I don’t like school you, can’t make me go to school,’ it broke my heart.” But that all changed after his first day, “He came in the car at the end of the first day and said ‘I was wrong, I love school. I can’t wait to go back,’ and that was the biggest gift I could ask for as a parent.”

Students are wearing masks at all times and given breaks to take them off. Students are also distancing while under their tents.

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