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Central Berkshire School Switch to Remote Learning

Staff ReportsiBerkshires
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DALTON, Mass. — The Central Berkshire Regional schools will revert to remote learning starting Monday, Nov. 23. 
 
A letter from school and public health officials released on Friday morning pointed to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and surrounding school districts that are going to remote learning status. 
 
"The COVID-19 crisis is resulting in a large increase in cases in Berkshire County and all other parts of the commonwealth," the letter states. "In recent weeks, Berkshire County has seen a 10-fold increase of new confirmed cases per day and we have felt the impact of these cases within both our school community and town communities."
 
Officials are urging the school community to be cautious during the holiday season, noting that "we do know from recent data that Halloween parties and other large gatherings have significantly contributed to the extraordinary surge in cases." 
 
The spike in novel coronavirus cases in Berkshire County in came within two weeks of Halloween and two significant outbreaks were traced back to parties held at restaurants in Pittsfield. 
 
"We urge you to avoid large holiday parties and gatherings," the letter states. "While it is so tempting to be with family and friends during the holiday season, we ask that you be extra vigilant so that together, we can minimize the impact of this virus."
 
School officials are encouraging people to follow state guidance in wearing face coverings, keeping a physical distance of 6 feet, and washing hands and surfaces. Anyone traveling should be isolating and testing as required by the state. 
 
"It is unfortunate that we are called upon to make these sacrifices. However, it is essential that we all do our part to reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 both for our own and our community's safety," states the letter. "The ultimate goal is to be able to have our students return to the in-person models of learning that we all feel are essential for the education of all of our learners."
 
The letter was signed by School Committee Barbara Craft-Reiss, Dalton Board of Health Chair Dr. Daniel Doyle and Dalton Health Agent Jayne Smith. They wrote that they have also relied on Superintendent of Schools Leslie Blake-Davis and Leslie Drager, a public health nurse Berkshire Public Health Alliance for guidance. 
 
Central Berkshire is the latest school district to cancel in-person classes -- Hoosac Valley Regional and Pittsfield have already gone remote along with North Adams' Drury High School.

Tags: central berkshire,   COVID-19,   


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District Attorney Launches 'High-Risk' Team to Address Domestic Violence

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Cathy Felix talks about her daughter, Julie Shade, a victim of domestic violence who was murdered by her husband. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire District Attorney's Office has launched a new effort to address domestic and sexual abuse in the region.
 
District Attorney Andrea Harrington, joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, on Thursday introduced a Domestic Violence High Risk Team designed to bring multiple disciplines together to strengthen social service and law enforcement responses to domestic violence. The DA's office has also created a new position of a domestic violence coordinator who will work with the team and develop intervention plans.
 
The initiative continues a campaign promise Harrington made to prioritize domestic violence and develop a team of made up of representatives across several disciplines to create a coordinated response. 
 
"We are using our power to dismantle a culture of violence against women and girls," she said. "Being the first female district attorney [in Berkshire County], being the first anything, being a woman in power in particular, and we have a lot of powerful women standing here behind me today, that in and of its self is meaningless unless we use that power to bring equity and human rights and justice to our community."
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