As in-person learning begins, so does mask enforcement at local schools

Hampden County

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – 22News received several concerns from viewers about mask enforcement for in-person learning.

According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, students in grades two and above are required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth, as well as adults.

In-person learning is starting at some public schools around western Massachusetts, with new COVID-19 guidelines in place for students and teachers to follow. In Westfield, only the technical academy is back to in-person classes as of Thursday.

“We did choose the CTE students to go back because we do realize that learning a career, or a technical, or a trade whatever you want to call it, a career like that is very difficult to do on a computer,” Westfield Public Schools Superintendent, Stefan Czaporowski told 22News.

Their policy is that if you are unable to keep a mask on as required then they’re asking students to learn remotely.

“Our policy is we call the parents, we have a conversation with them and say if your child cannot wear a mask they’re going to have to go to remote learning. We’re not suspending, we’re not giving detentions for this. It’s really just a “Yes” or “No” issue, you’re going to wear it or you’re not,” Czaporowski continued.

Students at Westfield Technical Academy who’ve gone back to learning their trades in-person, do have to wear masks in school according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and they get three to four mask breaks a day that are socially distanced.

DESE says face shields may also be an option for students with medical, behavioral, or other challenges who are unable to wear masks.

On Monday, the Westfield school committee will vote on bringing special education students in sub-separate populations and pre-schoolers to everyday in-person learning.

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