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Mount Greylock Continues Teacher Talks Over Remote Learning

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee met on Tuesday but did not have a resolution on two issues stemming from the school closure that entered its third week on Monday.
 
Districts statewide are closed through at least May 4 by order of the governor. Last week, the commissioner of education advised school officials to implement remote learning plans to continue students' education during the closure.
 
On Friday, Superintendent Kimberley Grady and other members of the administration sent an email to the district's families explaining plans for remote learning the PreK-12 district.
 
"We met this afternoon with the [teachers union] executive board and had a productive conversation about the ways in which we can transition to a more structured distance learning experience beginning the week of April 6," the letter read in part.
 
On Tuesday, the School Committee's Negotiations Subcommittee held an executive session to talk with the union, and a 4:45 p.m. special meeting of the full committee had agenda items to vote on memoranda of agreement between the district and its teachers and paraprofessionals.
 
But Regina DiLego of the Negotiations Subcommittee informed her colleagues that the discussions will need to continue.
 
After the meeting, Grady said that Tuesday's negotiations lasted an hour, and she characterized them as productive. The School Committee's subcommittee will meet again on Thursday.
 
In the meantime, the School Committee also needs to negotiate a contract adjustment with Dufour Tours, which provides bus transportation service to the district.
 
"We had a discussion today with the legal counsel for the district," School Committee member Jamie Art said. "He is going to do some follow-up review on the details of the federal stimulus package with an eye toward seeing how that will inform the renegotiation of the contracts with the bus company."
 
An agenda item to approve a bus contract also was deferred to a future meeting.
 
Grady told the committee that the administration continues to coordinate with town officials in Lanesborough and Williamstown and reached out to families with information about the instructional resources that currently are available on the district's website.
 
And Mount Greylock continues to provide lunches Monday through Friday to students and seniors in both its member towns, though that schedule will change next week.
 
"Starting next week, we will still do meals five days per week, but we'll only have deliveries and pickups on Monday, Wednesday and Friday," Grady said. "This way the administrative team who has been here since the beginning gets a little rest."
 
Meals for Monday and Tuesday will be delivered on Monday. Meals for Wednesday and Thursday will be delivered on Wednesday.
 
Grady again noted that any resident of Lanesborough or Williamstown who would like a meal under the grab-and-go program should contact the school  at 413-458-9582, Ext. 1195, or email lunches@mgrhs.org.

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County's Colleges Train Workers for Post-Pandemic Economy

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The county's institutions of higher education are ready to do their part to help their students navigate their way through a post-COVID-19 economy.
 
On Friday, the presidents of Berkshire Community College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Williams College and the provost of Bard College at Simon's Rock participated in a virtual town hall hosted by 1Berkshire.
 
Johnathan Butler led the hourlong conversation, which focused largely on how colleges are adapting to the current closure of their physical campuses and making plans for the fall 2020 semester.
 
But at one point Butler asked how the schools are situated to help address workforce development needs at a time when Berkshire County has nearly 30 percent unemployment.
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