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Pittsfield Schools Report Case of COVID-19

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A staff member at Conte Community School has tested positive for COVID-19. Children and staff in the exposed classroom will isolate by going to remote; the school will remain open. 
According to a release on Sunday from interim Superintendent Joseph Curtis, the Pittsfield Public Schools were informed Friday evening of the positive test for the novel coronavirus. 
He said the school system, out of abundance of caution, and in addition to previous communications with specific students and staff identified through contact tracing, is making the entire community aware of the confirmed case. 
Late in the evening of Friday, Nov. 6, the Pittsfield Public Schools, in partnership with The City of Pittsfield Department of Health, was notified that a staff member at Conte Community School tested positive for COVID-19.
The employee in question was most recently physically in attendance at the school on Friday. The city has seen a spike in cases over the last two weeks that prompted Mayor Linda Tyer to urge caution on Friday for residents to abide by mask wearing, social distancing and sanitizing to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease. 
According to Curtis, the Pittsfield Public Schools has planned for the potential cases of COVID-19 within the school system with the city and its Department of Health. 
While this is an evolving situation, Curtis said the school is following protocols and guidance from the state and federal health agencies and the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 
The Department of Health has reached out to each staff and family member who has been identified as potentially being in close contact with the infected individual and has provided information and recommendations.
Close contact means being within 6 feet of another person for 15 minutes or more. For example, a classroom that has been together for six hours, even if sitting at 6 feet apart, could be considered to be close contacts because of the amount of time spent in a room together.
In line with guidance via collaborating agencies, the Pittsfield Public Schools will not close the entire school. Students and staff in the affected classroom will participate in remote learning through Nov. 20.
All areas of the building that the individual accessed in the days preceding their positive test result will be thoroughly cleaned, and disinfected before the start of school on Monday. All buses were thoroughly sanitized on Friday, Nov. 6, as part of regularly established protocols.
The schools will continue to monitor community absentee rates, reports of illness, and test positivity daily incidence rate metrics, to determine if school closure or in-person education initiatives require modification at Conte Community School.

Tags: COVID-19,   Pittsfield Public Schools,   

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Pittsfield Seeks Solutions to Daytime Warming Shelters for Homeless

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Linda Tyer this week said the city of Pittsfield is feeling discouraged from the lack of community organizations willing to host a warming shelter that will house homeless individuals during the hours that the St. Joseph's temporary winter shelter on Maplewood Avenue is closed.

"We're concerned too, and we're feeling quite discouraged that a number of our community partners have declined our request to help with a daytime warming center but we're not going to give up," she said at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Maffuccio addressed the mayor with two petitions in regard to the homeless population.

Maffuccio requested that the mayor, or other departments or organizations, provide an update on the plans for a warming station for the homeless and that the mayor develops a task force for the purpose of developing a permanent housing solution for chronically homeless residents.

These petitions were both referred to Tyer by the council.

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