In less than three weeks, the Worcester Public Schools are planning on having special education students back in the classroom.
The precautions they're taking are thorough.
"We have masks over here. We have gowns. For some of the special population of students, some of our teachers will have to wear extra protective gear," said school safety director Rob Pezzella.
He says 30 buildings would reopen.
Along with PPE, the district will be handing out cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, as well as displaying proper signage inside schools.
"Every classroom will be set up where the maximum amount of students in one classroom will be 12 students. That is because they have to maintain a six feet distance from one desk to the other,” Pezzella said.
Returning to the classroom is as a major concern, however, for the union representing the city's teachers.
They want the date pushed back.
"In Worcester County, it's no secret our numbers are soaring off the chart. And if we just continue to take our time, and look at it intelligently and respectfully, we can get through this,” said President of the Educational Association of Worcester Roger Nugent.
The scheduled return may also come at a time when the city is dealing with even more coronavirus cases from the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
"I think the next three to four weeks are going to be really, really bad as far as the cases we're going to see,” said Worcester's Medical Director Dr. Michael Hirsh in an interview Tuesday.
"We're relentlessly advocating for it to be done when the buildings are safe and when the vaccine has been issued to our members,” Nugent said.
Both Pezzella and Nugent also shared concerns about ensuring students stay six feet apart throughout the school day. Dr. Hirsh is expected to have a meeting with the school committee later on this week.