Local students, teachers preparing for back to school in the fall

Hampden County

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) In nearly a month, western Massachusetts students and teachers will return to school for the fall.

Most school districts like Westfield are taking it upon themselves to safely reopen their schools and prevent a Covid-19 outbreak. There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the reopening of schools in Massachusetts.

The state has guidelines that school districts must follow, like enforcing mask-wearing, and social distancing. However, not all schools are the same size or have the same needs. Students wouldn’t be rushed back to school in Westfield when schools reopen for the fall.

The school district created a phased-in approach. The superintendent told us what Phase 1 would include. The majority of staff would be brought back on August 31, when schools reopen, but the number of students would be limited. Students with learning needs and those in the career technical programs would be allowed to return first.

Stefan Czaporowski, superintendent of Westfield Schools told 22News, “If the state implemented a phase-in approach, why would schools go from 0 to 100? A phased-in approach makes sense to me as well and I know not everybody is going to agree with that but my top priority is the safety of our students and our staff.”

Czaporowski told 22News more students would be brought back in Phase 2, and in Phase 3, they’d have an A and a B week, so not all students are in the school buildings at once. At full capacity, students in most of the schools wouldn’t be able to maintain social distancing.

They’re also seeking more state guidance on bus transportation, physical education, and extracurricular activities like band and chorus. Superintendent Czaporowski said they are still in process of finalizing their phased-reopening plan and will submit it to the state for approval by August 10.

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