Schools need more guidance until full in-person learning begins, superintendent says

Hampshire County

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker and the state’s education commissioner would like to start seeing students return to full-time in-person learning within the next month.

22News spoke with the Superintendent of Northampton Schools, John Provost, who said they need a little more guidance until full in-person learning is back in session.

“We need to continue to find ways for schools to be operational and for kids to be in school,” said Baker, who has set a goal to have students return to the classroom by April.

A goal he plans to accomplish with a comprehensive ‘pool testing program,’ distancing requirements that include students being spaced of at least 3 feet apart and masks wearing at all times.

The Massachusetts Teachers Union has pushed back on that timeline because they want to see teachers have access to the vaccine. Something that Northampton Superintendent of Schools John Provost agrees with.

“We haven’t reached the stage of vaccination where school employees are prioritized. That’s something that I’ve been advocating for, our school committee has been advocating for, the teachers union has been advocating for, that’s where we’re all aligned,” said Provost.

Northampton schools currently operate as a hybrid model from Pre-k through Grade 12.

Although Northampton schools fall 2021 budget is based around 5-day a week in-person learning, Provost said he still needs more guidance in order to implement in-person learning for the current school year.

Provost added that he plans on keeping necessary protocols in place in the fall.

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