Agawam schools to follow DESE guidelines on masks

Hampden County

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – The start of the school year is weeks away but what can you expect now with cases rising across the state?

Depending on where you go to school, the rules may be different and that includes whether students have to wear a mask regardless of their vaccination status.

Agawam is one school district where students won’t be required to wear masks in the classroom, but those who are unvaccinated will be strongly recommended to do so, following guidance from DESE. The school committee voted to give the decision on masks and COVID-19 protocols to the superintendent, who can make changes based on health department recommendations.

Agawam Mayor Bill Sapelli told 22News, “The vote wasn’t for about whether we should go masks or no masks. It was to give the superintendent the authority make a decision on what way to go and the decision was to follow DESE And DPH recommendations.”

However, some school districts are mandating masks, not just strongly recommending them like Agawam is doing. Those include Springfield, Holyoke, and Amherst.

Remote learning won’t be an option for students statewide this fall, with exceptions only being made for specific cases like medical conditions. This comes from DESE, which made in-person learning a requirement for this upcoming academic year. Masks will required on the bus for all school districts, since face coverings are federally mandated for public transportation.

Agawam starts their school year a little later than others, the first day after Labor Day, Tuesday, September 2nd.

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