In-person school set to resume in Northampton

  • John Provost, superintendent of Northampton Public Schools. Gazette file photo

Staff Writer
Published: 10/9/2020 5:28:18 PM

NORTHAMPTON — In-person learning for about 265 Northampton Public Schools students is set to resume after being canceled on Thursday and Friday because of an increase in COVID-19 cases in Holyoke, Superintendent John Provost announced Friday night.

The Health and Safety Joint Labor Management Committee, which met Friday afternoon to access the situation, recommended that the district lift the in-person learning pause. The committee includes teachers, nurses and a School Committee member.

“Our schools will once again be open for in-person learning for those students who receive in-person services under the current model,” Provost said in an email. Students receiving some sort of in-person services are those with individualized education plans, preschool students, English language learners, homeless students and some others. All other students are in school remotely.

The spike in COVID-19 cases in Holyoke, announced this week, triggered the shutdown under the terms of a labor agreement. The agreement between the district and the Northampton Association of School Employees stipulates that in-person school will cease when there are eight or more cases per 100,000 residents in Easthampton, Holyoke or Northampton. 

“The reason those committees (Holyoke and Easthampton) were highlighted in the agreement was due to the number of students and staff who reside in those communities,” Provost explained.

On Wednesday, the state Department of Health said Holyoke’s rate was 10.7 per 100,000 people over a 14-day period. Easthampton’s rate was 1.3 and Northampton’s was .5.

Members of the Health and Safety Joint Labor Management Committee include: Lisa Safron, director of health, safety, and equity programs, Dr. Diana Johanson, school physician, Merridith O’Leary, city Health Department director, Karen Schiaffo, Amy Avakian and Kate Kelly, school nurses, Susan Voss, at-large School Committee member, Laura Frogameni, preschool partnership coordinator, Jonathan Knapp, Brett Costello, and Janis Totty, teachers, and Richard Patenaude, education support professional.

Greta Jochem can be reached at

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