West Springfield Mayor Reichelt opposes state push to return to in-person learning

Hampden County

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – West Springfield is one of 16 school districts being pushed by the state to return to in-person learning.

Tuesday night – Mayor Will Reichelt is saying not so fast, and his putting his opposition in writing.

Mayor Reichelt says the state should respect local decision making and he wants students to return to school but says it needs to be done safely.

October 26th was the orginal date West Springfield set to reasses their current remote learning model and begin the shift to a hybrid model.

But the state’s education department thinks students should be back in the classroom sooner based on the covid-19 community map that was released by the state in mid-august.

In a follow up letter sent to the commissioner of the department of elementary and secondary education, Mayor Reichelt said the information would have been helpful before the school committee vote.

He’s now asking the state for help in making that transition sooner.

“I think they could be helpful in providing us tools and like waivers for nursing requirements to make sure we have enough staff to cover all our schools and also cover all the isolation rooms because each school now is going to have an isolation room.” said Reichelt.

West Springfield is now considering bringing preschool through grade 2 into schools first – this could happen as soon within the next few weeks.

Next would be transitional grades like 6th and 9th so they can experience their new schools – which might happen around November.

But like all other school districts parents will have the option to keep their child full remote is they wish.

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