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McCann Students Return to Classrooms

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — McCann Technical School students have returned to full in-person education.
 
McCann Principal Justin Kratzl told the School Committee on Thursday that students were slated to make their full return Monday, May 17, according the state orders to reopen classrooms.
 
"We definitely are excited to have the kids back; it will be good to have the place bustling again," Kratz said. "It has been a ton of work to get up and ready but it has been a team effort. We have a lot of of people rowing in the same direction."
 
McCann stayed largely in a hybrid education model throughout the last few months of the pandemic. Students went to school for their shops but much of their regular education was done virtually.
 
Kratz said the school will utilize a cohort model and students will stay in their classroom and the teachers will move from room to room to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
 
Mask wearing will be required and students will be spaced out 3 feet. 
 
There will be mask breaks and an extra lunch was added to accommodate the fewer number of kids allowed to eat in the cafeteria.
 
Chairman Gary Rivers thanked the school leadership for its thorough reopening plan. 
 
"It was very complete and efficient," he said. "Very specific."
 
The principal added that spring sports have also begun.
 
"It is powerful seeing kids out on the field ... they were just happy to be out there playing catch and throwing a ball to a teammate instead of off the garage," Kratz said.
 
Also, Kratz said students did compete in SkillsUSA and Business Professionals of America, however, he did not have the results yet.
 
"We still haven't collected the data, but I am told our kids did well," he said.
 
He said much of the competition was virtual. 
 
In other business, Kratz said graduation is scheduled for June 2 and will be held outside on the soccer field.
 
The rain date is June 3. There will be no class night.
 
The School Committee awarded a $140,000 bid to Sommer Electric to conduct the electrical work for the to-be-installed floodlights on the football field.
 
"The poles and equipment are here and next week they will begin drilling holes to get this project moving,"
 
The committee also approved a $67,230 bid to make repairs to the front entrance of the school.

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Governor Pushing for Two-Month Sales Tax Holiday

BOSTON — The governor is proposing a two-month-long sales tax holiday this year as a way to support local economies and that would put an estimated $900 million back into residents' pockets. 
 
A sales tax holiday is already on the books for Aug. 14-16, a weekend of tax relief in August that's now a law in the state at this point. The Baker-Polito administration filed legislation on Wednesday to expand the sales tax holiday to the entire months of August and September.
 
"A two-month sales tax holiday will provide a boost to Massachusetts' taxpayers and Main Street economies as we continue to recover from COVID-19," said Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday in a statement. "Massachusetts' economic recovery is off to a good start, but it's crucial that the commonwealth takes action now to spur more economic activity in communities and support taxpayers. Thanks to stronger than expected tax revenues, the commonwealth has managed to grow the rainy day fund to a balance higher than it was at the beginning of the pandemic, and we can also afford to return these tax dollars to our residents and small businesses."
 
State tax revenues for fiscal 2021, he said, continues to "significantly exceed projections." Sales tax revenues to date are 14.9 percent above benchmark and revenues across the board means the state is poised to end the fiscal year with a significant surplus.
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