EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – As the state of Massachusetts continues to monitor COVID-19 cases across the commonwealth, schools are preparing for students in the fall.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education created a brief video explaining plans in place regarding the upcoming school year.

Dr. Sandra Nelson from the Infectious Diseases Department in Massachusetts General Hospital stated there will be important measures that are going to be implemented at each individual school to make sure kids and teachers stay safe.

When kids return back to school, the following health guidelines will be in place:

  • Physical distancing – Keep kids at least 6 feet apart
  • Require masks/face covering
  • Enforce hand washing/hand sanitizing frequently
  • Stay home when sick

Dr. Nelson also added classrooms are going to look different than last year. The first difference that will be noticed is that the desks will be spaced further apart. Smaller classroom will have desks spread out at least 3 feet apart as students wear face coverings.

“Because of what we learned about the virus itself, we feel comfortable that the plans that have been outlined are a safe and effective way for our children to return to school this fall,” Dr. Lloyd Fisher, President of American Academy of Pediatrics said.

On July 14, there was reportedly a steady decline in COVID-19 cases compared to the beginning of March within Massachusetts as shown in the graph below:

Photo Courtesy: Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

As of Monday, July 27, there has been an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases reported in the state. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, there are now 108,562 positive COVID-19 cases and 8,317 COVID-related deaths.

Photo Courtesy: Massachusetts Department of Public Health

For more information on school reopening guidance for the fall visit http://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/.