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Updated December 01, 2020 03:34PM

Second Positive Test Sends Mount Greylock to Remote Learning

By Stephen
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- After a second positive COVID-19 test in a Mount Greylock Regional School student in as many days, the middle-high school is switching to remote learning through Wednesday, Dec. 9.
Principal Jacob Schutz notified the school community of the move in an email Tuesday afternoon. The announcement was repeated on school's home page.
Schutz said said the move was being made "out of an abundance of caution."
"This short hiatus of in-person learning provides time and space for us to validate our current safety practices and procedures and further improve our confidence that there was no transmission within the building," Schutz wrote.
The principal's email says that two students, who were not identified, are following the protocols of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Schutz Tuesday said that the first student reported to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus -- the one the community learned about in a Monday email -- had not been in school and was not believed to have had any contact with the school community.
On the other hand, the school "did identify four students as closest to the affected student" reported on Tuesday. Those four students have been notified and are undergoing COVID-19  testing while quarantined, the email reads.
Schutz asked that students continue to complete the district's daily health screener each day during the remote learning period.
He also wrote that students who order school lunches will be able to pick them up at either Lanesborough Elementary School or Williamstown Elementary School between 10 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.
"There will be no in-person clubs, activities or athletics during this time frame," Schutz wrote.
The move affects only the middle-high school.
The Mount Greylock Regional School District includes the two elementary schools. All three began the year with fully remote learning before transitioning to a hybrid schedule in October.
At Mount Greylock, the hybrid plan divides the student body into two cohorts. Half can attend in-person classes on Mondays and Tuesdays; the other half can attend school in person on Thursdays and Fridays.
Pupils at Lanesborough Elementary and Williamstown Elementary are divided into A.M. and P.M. cohorts. They receive half a day of instruction in school and half a day remotely, four days per week.
The district has seen a few positive COVID-19 tests among pupils at LES and one positive case at WES, Superintendent Jake McCandless said on Tuesday afternoon.
"Every one, we handle differently because the timing and situations are different," McCandless said. "At the elementary schools, kids are met on the bus, walked in, walked out. They're really just with this tiny cohort for two or three hours and then sent home."
The Williamstown Elementary school case affected one classroom in one grade level, and that cohort was moved to remote instruction, he said.
"The Lanesborough Elementary situation had some important nuances that indicated [sending the cohort home] was not something that made sense," McCandless said.


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Williamstown Employees Resign After Complaint; Board Member Leaving

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Two employees of the town resigned Monday in the wake of a complaint about employee conduct.
And one member of the five-person Select Board will be leaving his post a year ahead of schedule.
Those were the surprises to emerge from a meeting that mostly focused on the town's efforts to investigate accusations of wrongdoing in its police department and develop a plan to replace its recently retired chief.
Select Board Chair Jane Patton announced the employees' departure at the start of the meeting.
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