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Six COVID-19 Cases Linked to Williamstown's Pine Cobble School

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Four children and two faculty members from Pine Cobble School have tested positive for COVID-19, the private school's head reported on Friday.
 
Ten days after a kindergarten teacher went home with a fever, the ensuing tests have turned up six cases, Sue Wells said.
 
"All the cases are contained to the kindergarten families, and the teachers in the kindergarten," she said.
 
All of the families in that kindergarten cohort were ordered by public health officials to either be tested for the novel coronavirus or quarantine for 14 days, Wells said.
 
The school sent home the kindergarten pupils and any siblings on Wednesday, Sept. 9, the day a teacher first reported symptoms.
 
Due to HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) concerns, Wells said she could not disclose whether she knew if any of the other five people who subsequently have tested positive ever displayed COVID-19 symptoms.
 
After the initial teacher's test came back positive for the virus on Sept. 12, the school announced it would go to fully remote instruction for at least two weeks starting on Monday, Sept. 14.
 
Wells said Friday that Pine Cobble, which tested its entire school community prior to the start of classes on Sept. 8, plans to conduct another round of tests on the entire community -- faculty, staff and pupils -- on Friday, Sept. 25.
 
Pending the results of those tests, the school still hopes to reopen for in-person instruction on Tuesday, Sept. 29, Wells said.

Tags: COVID-19,   school reopening,   


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Williamstown Board Talks Reasons For, Against Replacing Police Chief

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Select Board on Monday gave residents a window into one piece of the numerous conversations the body has been having in executive session since mid-August.
 
During the public comment portion of the twice-monthly public meeting, Janice Loux pressed the five elected officials to explain whether they individually recommended to the town manager that he remove the chief of police in the wake of allegations raised in a federal lawsuit against the town, town manager and chief.
 
Loux, one of many community members who have been pushing for the removal of both Chief Kyle Johnson and Town Manager Jason Hoch, was given an opening when Select Board members Jane Patton and Andrew Hogeland indicated in separate remarks that they favored a change of leadership at the Williamstown Police Department.
 
"A big part of my education has been learning about how different actions affect certain members of the community," Hogeland said. "In the midst of the focus on that and the work that needs to be done and the voices that need to be heard, I did not sufficiently acknowledge that I had heard those voices. I have and I do, and I join in the apologies for that gap.
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