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Unsolicited seed packet and packaging delivered in Vermont. State and federal agricultural agencies are asking residents who receive these packages in the mail not to plant the seeds but inform their appropriate agency.

Massachusetts Residents Asked to Report Receipt of Unsolicited Seeds

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These seeds arrived in Washington State apparently from China.
BOSTON — Random packages of seeds that appear to be from China and other countries have been appearing in mailboxes across the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and numerous agricultural agencies across the nation are warning  people not to plant what could be an invasive species. 
 
The state Department of Agricultural Resources has been notified that several Massachusetts residents have received these unsolicited packages that appear to have originated in a foreign country and contain seeds. 
 
While the exact types of seeds in the packages are unknown, the seeds are thought to be invasive plant species, and not believed to be harmful to humans or pets but could pose a significant risk to agriculture or the environment.
 
MDAR encourages residents who receive or have received an unsolicited package of seeds to not plant the seeds and immediately complete a form on MDAR's website to provide important information to state plant regulatory officials.
 
Residents who receive a package should hold on to the seeds and all packaging, including the mailing label. A representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture or MDAR will be in contact with instructions regarding the collection or disposal of the seeds.
 
Invasive plant species can threaten the integrity of local ecosystems and displace native plants, including rare and endangered species. The most effective approach to mitigating the risk of invasive plant infestation is to take steps to ensure they are not planted.
 
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets is also asking Vermont residents to report any strange seed packages in the mail. Again, keep the seeds and packaging and fill out the contact form here. 
 
Unsolicited packages of seeds have been received by people in several other states across the United States over the last several days. On Tuesday, July 28, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a press release announcing that it is working with state plant regulatory officials to investigate the situation. The USDA urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact their state plant regulatory official or plant health director.
 

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North Adams School Committee Votes for Remote Learning

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The School Committee on Tuesday rejected a hybrid school reopening model to vote 3-2 to go full remote. 
 
The decision to start school with the remote option was apparently influenced by a letter the School Committee members received from the North Adams Teachers Association expressing concern over re-entering the schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
Committee member Tara Jacobs said she was not comfortable potentially exposing staff to the novel coronavirus in motioning to go with the remote option to start and later transition to a hybrid model. 
 
"There's no good scenario but the decision to open the school and have someone dying or having health conditions for the rest of their life ... ," she said, motioning to start the school year remotely.
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