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Western Mass. superintendent says some parents are keeping kids home amid COVID-19 schools spike

Amherst-Pelham Regional High School in Amherst, Massachusetts.
File Photo
Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com
Amherst-Pelham Regional High School in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Over the most recent two-week reporting period, Massachusetts school districts say the number of students with new cases of COVID-19 increased almost two and a half times.

Michael Morris, the superintendent of the Amherst- Pelham Regional School District, said he's seen an increase in students not in school.

Morris said they are comprised of those with COVID as well as those with symptoms who are told to stay home. Plus there's another reason for students' absence.

"We do have some families who are also anxious based on the surge, and contacted us with concerns about sending their kid — not necessarily about our safety protocols, but just about, you know, there's a lot of COVID," he said.

The state department of education says it's up to local districts to determine what constitutes an excused or unexcused absence.

The education commissioner has announced he's extending the school mask mandate through at least the end of February.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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