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North Adams Lifts Indoor Masking Advisory; Schools to Decide Thursday

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health has dropped its masking advisory from December effective Thursday. 
This means that face coverings will no longer be required in public buildings, with the exception of the schools. The School Committee will meet at 6 p.m. on Thursday to review its mask mandate. 
"People that certainly want to wear a mask or should wear a mask or need to wear a mask should certainly be able to do that," said Chair John Meaney Jr. "It's an option of each individual person."
The decision to rescind the masking advisory is in line with current guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the low levels of community spread of COVID-19 within the Berkshires. 
The CDC is recommending that those who have compromised immune systems or who have not been vaccinated to continue wearing masks indoors. The state dropped its masking mandate for schools on Feb. 28 and lifted mask mandates for school buses based on CDC guidance but has left it up to local jurisdictions to set policy particular to their situations. 
North Adams has had eight cases of novel coronavirus over the past 10 days, reported Health Director Heather DeMarsico. Berkshire Medical Center currently has one patient on pandemic precautions.
A number of communities have begun lifting restrictions over the past few weeks as the surge in cases over the holidays has dwindled and more people have been vaccinated and boosted. 
Board member Kevin Lamb said the public advisory in December, which had advised all residents to wear face coverings indoors regardless of vaccination status, had been in line with the conditions at the time. 
"I think we would kind of be in line with other communities, even in our area and across the nation [in rescinding the advisory]," he said. "So I would be in favor of updating that."
The two board members (member October Cellena was absent) discussed putting out a new advisory but decided to vote to rescind the December advisory and issue a statement that reiterated the CDC guidance. 
Mayor Jennifer Macksey, who attended the meeting, confirmed that starting Thursday, face coverings would not be required in public buildings. These include City Hall and the library. 
The School Committee had voted on March 2 to extend masking in the schools until at least March 14 because of the February school vacation. The vacations and holidays have accounted for spikes in transmission. However, the committee will decide on Thursday night whether to continue masking. Pittsfield and Hoosac Valley schools have already lifted their mask mandates. 

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MCLA to Hold Annual Educator Recognition Awards Event

NORTH ADAMS, Mass.—Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), in collaboration with the Berkshire County Superintendents' Roundtable, will hold its annual Educator Recognition Awards event on Thursday, May 26, 2022, from 4:30-6 p.m. in Murdock Hall Room 218 on MCLA's campus.  
This award was created to honor the region's exceptional educators. This year's awardees are being recognized for their outstanding contributions to education throughout the pandemic. 
The event is free and open to the public, and a virtual attendance option is available.  
 Those who would like to attend can register at
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