FAQs COVID-19 / Coronavirus Response

COVID-19/ Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Answers for the HPS Community


If your question is not answered in this document, families and community members can also  send an email to returntoschool@hps.holyoke.ma.us.


Please continue to visit our Health and Wellness web page for HPS COVID19 Communications, food, and learning resources: https://www.hps.holyoke.ma.us/families/health-wellness-nursing/.


Please note that the following information is current as of its release. We recommend that you continue to refer to credible sources of information such as information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Department of Public Health (DPH), and World Health Organization (WHO).  We have developed frequently asked questions (FAQs) to the best of our ability. 


Can my child get breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner?

Holyoke Public Schools is offering meal service at school sites for remote learners.  Visit https://www.hps.holyoke.ma.us/families/cafeteria-menu/ for locations and schedule.  Remote learners, parents or guardians may pick up their meals.  Grab and go meals are provided at school for our in-person learners.

  • If these hours or locations present a challenge to you, please contact Jose Bou, jbou@hps.holyoke.ma.us 413-534-2000, Ext. 1104 or the Family and Community Engagement member from your school. 
  • Families in need of food over the weekend?  Email: Christine Burns, cburns@hps.holyoke.ma.us.
  • Also, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke offers a free “Grab & Go” Dinner Club Meal Program to all youth in Holyoke ages 18 years old and younger.   The program operates Monday through Friday from 5 – 6:30 pm at the Main Club facility location on 70 Nick Cosmos Way, Holyoke MA.  For more information, please contact Ann Mann at amann@hbgc.org or 413-534-7366 ext. 125.

Are there any food resources for families?

Visit https://www.hps.holyoke.ma.us/families/cafeteria-menu/ for information about food resources, social services, and P-EBT. 


  • Kate’s Kitchen is providing to-go meals in the parking lot of 56 Cabot Street, Holyoke from 12:00 – 2:00 pm and Margaret’s Pantry is available by appointment by calling Brenda at 413-536-9109 Ext. 119. 
  • To better help families access food resources during this time, Project Bread’s Child Nutrition Outreach Program has created a master list and map of all meal sites in Massachusetts currently serving students and families. In addition, counselors at Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 are available to connect you to food resources as well as provide information about elder meals programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. The Hotline will continue to operate Monday-Friday, 8 am – 7 pm and Saturdays 10 am – 2 pm, and can provide information in 160 languages. 
  • Additionally, to find food pantries and meal sites near you, the Foodbank of W. Massachusetts has prepared a user-friendly site where you can search by town or county and by the day of the week.  Use the link below to find food assistance.  You can also use this link if you wish to donate or volunteer: https://www.foodbankwma.org/get-help/covid-19-food-pantry-meal-program-schedule/. This map updates live as information is received about program hour changes, as programs are added, and closures. 


Our family is in significant need.  Who can we contact for help?


Contact Jose Bou, Family and Community Partnerships Manager, jbou@hps.holyoke.ma.us, 413.534.2000, ext 1104, or Jen Gonzalez, Homeless Coordinator, jengonzalez@hps.holyoke.ma.us.  They will be checking email and voice messages throughout the day and will return your message.




Where can I find information about academics and learning?

Visit our Return to School Webpage https://www.hps.holyoke.ma.us/families/back-to-school/ for information about our hybrid learning model, and the recent safety protocols and measures that HPS has implemented to keep our students and staff safe.

If my family doesn’t have any device for at-home learning, can HPS provide us with one?


To help students access online learning, HPS has loaned  devices to families who did not have one.  If you have not been contacted but need a device, reach out to your child’s teacher/principal for more or call our hotline 413-561-0862 (English) or 413-314-3560 (Spanish). (Families who have more than one child across more than one school are still only eligible for one device per family and all devices need to be returned at the end of the closure period.) 


We have partnered with Comcast Internet Essentials to sponsor free internet access for 6 months for all families who do not currently have internet access.



Visit our Health,Wellness, and Nursing webpage https://www.hps.holyoke.ma.us/families/health-wellness-nursing/ for COVID-19 resources, information about the flu vaccine, and school safety.


If a family member or child does contract COVID-19, should we notify the school nurse or someone else?


If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, you should call your healthcare provider for medical advice, avoid public transportation, and stay at home unless instructed otherwise by your healthcare professional.  At home, you should stay away from others, perhaps in a separate “sick room” and bathroom, if a second bathroom is available.  Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals getting sick with COVID-19, the CDC recommends that people with COVID-19 have others care for the pets or wash hands before and after feeding pets.  For more information, read this guidance from the CDC.




Can students and families travel during the closure period?


We care about the health and safety of our employees, students, families and community; therefore, and in line with guidance from the CDC, we encourage you to practice healthy habits and refrain from unnecessary travel.  Students who travel will need to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time the student left the affected area in the following circumstances:

Travel to known areas of coronavirus, and the student returns and is exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus.

Travel to an area with widespread or ongoing community spread (Level 3 Travel Health Notic).

Please continue to review updated CDC information for travelers, including FAQ for travelers.  The CDC continues to add locations that require self-quarantine; staff should monitor the website regularly.  This situation remains fluid, with new information being made available daily.


Do you have suggestions for how to talk to my child about COVID-19?


There are several resources available.  Here is an article from Time entitled, All Your Coronavirus Questions, Answered, as well as some articles about how to talk to your child about Coronavirus:

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