PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In a response to the uptick in COVID-19 cases in the city, all Pittsfield Public School students will transition to remote learning starting Friday, Nov. 13
Pittsfield Public Schools and the Health Department released a joint response Thursday afternoon announcing that all city schools will suspend in-person learning and will transition to full remote learning.
The statement reads: "While recognizing that the suspension of in-person education certainly continues to add to the challenges that families, students, schools, and communities have been presented with during the COVID-19 era, the health and safety of our students and staff remain at the forefront of all considerations. As we continue to re-envision the academic experiences of our student body and staff during these unprecedented times, we are grateful for the understanding and resiliency associated with adjusting to modifications to how education is delivered."
According to the statement, this decision follows the notification that multiple members of the greater-City of Pittsfield community have tested positive for COVID-19, and\or are awaiting results of recent COVID-19 tests.
At this time, remote learning within the Pittsfield Public Schools is scheduled to continue through Friday, Dec. 4, with anticipated hybrid learning, beginning Monday, Dec. 7.
The timeline takes into consideration recent community events, virus incubation period, the experiencing of symptoms, contact tracing, and the test result turnaround time.
The statement reads: "The pause of in-person learning allows time to further assess data with the goal of resuming in-person learning as soon as we can confidently and safely deliver it."
The recent spikes within the City of Pittsfield do not include cases involving student-to-student, staff-to-staff, or student-to-staff interactions within the school buildings.
The statement included that the procedures in place within school buildings to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus have successfully been implemented, and will continue. Data shows that the recent uptick in Pittsfield's COVID-19 cases directly relates to large gatherings that have taken place in recent weeks within the community.
The district and city will continue to monitor health metrics over the next few weeks that will inform additional decisions and announcements. Additional information will be provided to the entire educational community in the coming days.
Meals are still available Friday to children 18 and under. Meals can be picked up between 11:45-12:15 at the following sites:
School officials on Wednesday said they have been told there are 104 new COVID-19 cases in the city. The city was categorized at the green level on Wednesday morning. The state has reported nearly 100 new cases in Berkshire County over a two-day period, with 50 reported Wednesday morning.
"The Pittsfield Public Schools was informed that a backlog of cases released today [Wednesday] showed 104 new COVID-19 cases in the City of Pittsfield," according to a press release from Pittsfield Public Schools interim Superintendent Joseph Curtis. "This backlog was due to a recording delay caused by a technical issue at one of the testing centers located in Pittsfield."
The statement also referred to a "number of unresolved issues on our PPS high school internal medical trackers" but did not go into detail.
Both high schools will have remote learning days on Thursday, Nov. 12, and Friday, Nov. 13. Current high school schedules will be followed remotely.
All elementary and middle schools, along with Eagle Academy, will remain open for hybrid learning.
School officials say the decision was made in partnership with the Board of Health and other city officials.
Absentee rates, reports of illness, and test positivity daily incidence rate metrics will be monitored to determine if school closure or in-person education initiatives require modification at scchool.
"This is a stark reminder that the events in our community directly impact the operations of each one of our schools," said Curtis. "We must as citizens of the city of Pittsfield remain vigilant in wearing a mask, sanitizing our hands frequently, standing 6 feet apart from one another, and not participating in any type of large gathering."
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Pittsfield Schools Subcommittee OKs Policies on Education Stability
By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Public School's Policy Subcommittee adopted three policies to make sure that homeless, foster, and connected military students have education stability.
The policies are to ensure that these students are receiving proficient education and that they are immediately enrolled upon entering the district.
Director of Curriculum Judy Rush's examination of the current policy resulted in her offering a revised homeless student policy and two new policies to the subcommittee.
Last week, the subcommittee voted unanimously in favor of each policy's approval on first reading.
The Homeless Students policy is a revised policy that has been driven by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act that ensures homeless children and youth have equal access to the same free and appropriate public education, including public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths.
Studies have shown that low-income neighborhoods are more concrete or "gray" than higher-income neighborhoods, which can have a deleterious effect on the health of residents, Senior Planner Allison Egan told the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission on Thursday.
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At the time, Cormier didn't think that BMC would allow dogs, so she joined forces with another employee to contact organizations and hospitals to find out how they adopted pet therapy programs. Her year-old Newfoundland passed an assessment to become the program's first therapy dog.
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