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North Adams, Pittsfield Schools Report COVID-19 Cases

Staff ReportsiBerkshires
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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 lgage@napsk12.org
 
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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Berkshire Helping Hands Fills 'Teen Gap' in Holiday Programs

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Haley and Crystal Patella check in donations at All Saints Church for the Holiday Teen Stocking Program.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — When Berkshire Helping Hands put out a call for Christmas "stockings" for local teens, the response was overwhelming. 
 
"We had more sponsors than we had kids," said volunteer Crystal Martin-Patella.
 
Patella and her daughter Haley were checking in the donations Tuesday afternoon at All Saints Church's parish center. 
 
And the bags and stockings were piling up on the tables for parents and guardians to pick up.
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