Chicopee School Committee decides on staggered return of students this fall

Hampden County

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Chicopee School Committee voted and approved a staggered plan to return to school this fall in a meeting Wednesday night.

Chicopee schools will begin the 2020-2021 school year on September 15 with special education and special circumstance students in buildings.

The second group that will be able to go to school will be transitional students who are entering a new building for the first time like sixth and ninth graders. All other students will begin the year with remote learning.

Based on data from the Department of Public Health, every three weeks a group of grade levels could be allowed back into buildings.

Superintendent Lynn Clark’s original plan scheduled more grade levels to come back every two weeks but the Department of Health recommended three-week intervals.

Chicopee is designated yellow on the state’s new map which means there are 4 to 8 cases per 100,000 people. According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, students are able to return to school under a hybrid model, something that Governor Charlie Baker has echoed. 

“If you are in a green or white community, I can’t imagine a good reason not to go back whether it’s full time or some sort of hybrid,” Gov. Baker said. 

There was an additional motion to start the year with full remote learning for the first 45 days, but that was proposed and defeated which led to some confusion for committee members and viewers of the live stream.

The overall plan was eventually approved by a vote of eight to three.

You can watch the full School Committee Meeting here.

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