WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — For the second time this fall, Williamstown Elementary School is closed for the day due to an issue with the heating system.
Shortly before 7 a.m. on Monday morning, the district used its "robocall" notification system to inform families of the closure.
Superintendent Douglas Dias said later in the morning that a leak in the school's primary boiler caused it to shut down over the weekend.
"Fortunately, the damage was contained to the boiler room itself, but the heat was off and there was no hot water," Dias said. "Considering the fact that the building was cool and not conducive to learning, we decided to play it safe."
Dias said that the building's custodian checked in on the boiler on Friday of the four-day Thanksgiving weekend and found it to be operating normally.
When the custodian arrived on Monday at 5 a.m., he discovered the problem.
Dias said that a backup boiler - known to be problematic - did not automatically kick in when the primary unit failed. He did not yet know the reason why the backup did not engage.
"The one that was fully functional, which is all we need, that was the one that sprung a leak," Dias said.
Dias said was at the school early Monday morning along with Principal Joelle Brookner and Mount Greylock Regional School Facilities Supervisor Jesse Wirtes, who came to assist. WES, Mount Greylock and Lanesborough Elementary share central administrative services, including the superintendent, under an arrangement known as the Tri-District.
The other two schools opened on schedule Monday morning.
Dias said Monday it is likely that pupils at WES -- with two heating-related closures so far this year -- will be in school two days longer than their counterparts in June, when schools make up emergency closure days, like snow days.
"Right now, I'm concerned about every day we miss out of school," Dias said. "[The calendars] are out of sync. At the moment, that's just the way life is. It is highly unlikely the other two schools would be closed and WES would be open [between now and the end of the school year].
"We have to play the hand we're dealt."
Dias said plumbers were on the scene Monday morning making repairs, and he anticipated a normal school day on Tuesday.
Coincidentally, both closures created five-day weekends for pupils. The October closure was on the Thursday before a previously scheduled four-day weekend; WES was closed for pupils on Friday, Oct. 9, for a full day of professional development for staff.
Monday's closure extended the Thanksgiving weekend by an extra day.
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Baker Acknowledges Frustration of Those Trying to Sign Up for Vaccines
By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
BOSTON — On the first day residents 75 and older could sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Charlie Baker said he knows people are frustrated about the time it takes to get those appointments, but the commonwealth continues to be constrained by the supply of vaccines on hand.
"I think the biggest challenge we're going to face on this rollout, and we've said this several times, is if demand does outstrip supply, which is where we're going to be for some period of time until the federal government can get to the point where their distribution to us reaches some level that's consistent with the number of people who are eligible to get vaccinated," Baker said in his daily press availability on Beacon Hill.
"This process, for people, will be frustrating. I understand that, and I think we all appreciate it's going to require a certain amount of patience for people to realize it may take several trips to the website before they can get an appointment."
On the first day residents 75 and older could sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Charlie Baker said he knows people are frustrated about the time it takes to get those appointments, but the commonwealth continues to be constrained by the supply of vaccines on hand.
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On Tuesday night, the Berkshire County athletic directors released a tentative schedule for the first full week of games and meets for schools that are fielding competitive teams this winter. click for more
Without taking a formal vote, the board expressed a consensus around a plan to bring in a long-term interim chief to help the department move forward while the town completes an evaluation of how it wants policing to look in the future.
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Those were the surprises to emerge from a meeting that mostly focused on the town's efforts to investigate accusations of wrongdoing in its police department and develop a plan to replace its recently retired chief.
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The Fire District has received responses from nine architects interested in serving as the owner’s project manager for a proposed fire station project and could have one on board as soon as March. click for more