Baystate CEO Urges Western Massachusetts Schools To Reopen For Sake Of Mental Health

Feb 16, 2021

Baystate Health CEO Mark Keroack says the isolation of learning remotely is causing serious psychological stress on children.

"We at Baystate are seeing increased mental health problems, suicide attempts, not to mention the loss of milestones for kids who have now been out of school and isolated... for up to a year," Keroack said. "And this is, of course, worse in lower socioeconomic groups."

Keroack wants more schools to follow the recent CDC guidelines for safe reopening, which includes social distancing and COVID-19 testing, and a focus on academics over sports and other activities.

Schools in Springfield, Massachusetts, remain fully remote. While Keroack says the city is still considered at substantial risk for COVID-19, child mental health should play a bigger role in the decision to reopen.

Massachusetts has seen cases drop in recent weeks, though Hampden County cases have not been falling as fast as the state average.