NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — There has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Drury High School and two cases in the Pittsfield Public Schools.
The North Adams Public Schools posted a message about the Drury case on Facebook at about 4:30 p.m.
"We would like to inform you that we have recently received information regarding one confirmed case of COVID-19 in an individual at Drury High School. Cleaning and disinfecting of the exposed location will be completed per DPH and CDC guidance. Every individual with a potential exposure has been given instructions on the course of action they need to take, including self-isolating and testing, if directed," the post read.
The name of the person in question is not being disclosed to protect patient privacy, the post stated.
An email with the same message was sent to parents from the superintendent's office.
In Pittsfield, an email went out in the evening saying the School Department had been notified that a staff member at Reid Middle School as well as a student at Pittsfield High School tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
This is the second case in the North Adams Public Schools and the first in Pittsfield.
School officials in North Adams had been informed early in October that an elementary student had tested positive. The student's classroom was cleaned and the staff and the parents of students in that cohort had been notified; the school reopened 10 days later with no other cases. The elementary schools have been keeping children in the classrooms, including for lunch, to prevent transmission.
The Facebook post did not indicate whether it was a student or an employee who had tested positive at Drury. The high school has also been trying to keep students from mingling by splitting grades into cohorts and having them attend mornings or afternoons. Wednesdays have been all-remote learning to allow for in-depth cleaning between cohort switches.
The district has coordinated with the Department of Public Health and will follow all recommendations. Any questions or concerns can be directed to nurse leader for the district, Lauren Gage, at 413-662-3240, Ext. 2303 or email@example.com.
The confirmed case at Reid Middle School involves a staff member who works in a contained classroom and who was most recently physically in attendance at the school facilities on Nov. 6. The Pittsfield Department of Health says it is reaching out to each staff, student and family member who has been identified as potentially being in close contact with the infected individual.
With nine calendar days passing since the Pittsfield High student last attended, and as of Tuesday, no students in any of the student's classes reporting symptoms, the schools says it will continue to operate following the protocols in place.
Students and staff at both school systems are reminded to practice physical distancing, stay home if sick and avoid contact with those who are sick, wash hand thoroughly and frequently, wear a face mask, cover mouth when sneezing or coughing, and keep surfaces clean.
Berkshire County, like other parts of the state, has seen an increase in cases over the past few weeks. Most of the new novel coronavirus cases have been in Pittsfield but North Adams has reported more than 20 cases since Oct. 22. On Tuesday, the state reported Berkshire County had 42 new cases — the largest single day jump since April.
Updated with write-thru at 9 p.m. to add in Pittsfield information.
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North Adams Schools Fully Open Beginning Next Week
By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — High school seniors will be returning to classrooms full time beginning next week on May 17, following the return of Grades 7 and 8 on April 28.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in March voted to give the commissioner discretion to require in-classroom instruction to count as learning time. Most elementary children returned to classrooms April 5, although some students and schools were allowed to remain remote.
"It looks as if about 75 percent of our seventh- and eighth-grade population returned for full in person, and we are currently processing the data for the high school return," Superintendent Barbara Malkas told the School Committee last week. An earlier survey to parents got very little response so a second was issued the week before. "We really needed to make sure we had a full complement of data."
She noted that the federal government was expected to approve use of the Pfizer vaccine to ages 12 and up; those 16 and older can already receive the shot. The more members of the school community are vaccinated, she said, the less disruption in learning since vaccinated people are not required to quarantine after contact with someone who has COVID-19.
The Mass MoCA Commission on Wednesday approved the seasonal restaurant to occupy the former Gramercy space, specifically the courtyard near the museum entrance. The restaurant would operate from Memorial Day until some time September.
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