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New State Program Will Let School Districts Distribute At-Home COVID-19 Tests
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:00PM / Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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BOSTON – Massachusetts schools will have the option to distribute weekly at-home tests to students and staff this month under a new testing program announced by the Baker administration on Tuesday morning.   The at-home testing program is designed to replace the commonwealth's "test and stay" program, which was created to allow in-school testing of asymptomatic close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19.   Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley called at-home testing a "game changer" for Massachusetts schools.   Baker said schools will continue to have the option to continue with a test-and-stay program already in place or adopt

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Williamstown Elementary, Mount Greylock Principals Outline Budget Priorities
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:24AM / Monday, January 17, 2022
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The principals of Mount Greylock Regional School and Williamstown Elementary School on Thursday asked the School Committee to support staffing increases for next year that will address both learning gaps and social emotional wellness needs in the district.   Following on the heels of last month's presentation by Lanesborough Elementary School Principal Nolan Pratt, Mount Greylock's Jacob Schutz and Williamstown's Cindy Sheehy gave presentations at the committee's virtual meeting to discuss the fiscal 2023 budget priorities identified by the administration and school council at each school.   Sheehy had the longer "wish list,"

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Mount Greylock School Committee Advances Natural Grass Playing Field Plan
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
09:02PM / Thursday, January 13, 2022
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee voted Thursday to order design work for a new natural grass multi-sport athletic field at the middle/high school.   For the first time in the long and complicated history of the natural vs. synthetic turf field debate in the district, the committee voted to move forward with a field plan that does not include an artificial turf surface.   Carolyn Greene, the chair of the School Committee's Finance Subcommittee, reported that the latter panel decided at its late December meeting to recommend a field project that puts a natural grass playing field at the center of a new, six-lane artificial

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College Notes: Winter 2022
03:57PM / Thursday, January 13, 2022
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Alex White of Dalton is the recipient of the Chancellor Scholars scholarship award at theat Whitewater, where he is studying physics. The college distributed $2.4 million in scholarships to students this academic year.    Academic Lists & Awards Thein Burlington has named the following local students to the dean's list for the fall 2021 semester: Patience Macpherson of Dalton, environmental studies; Bom Bee Lahart of Lenox, elementary education; Owen Brandriss of Williamstown, mechanical engineering; and Ethan Labatt of Pownal, Vt., undeclared.     in Easton has named Gianni Bertelli of Great Barrington and Ryan Abel, Hayley Tobin and Alexa Yasinski, all of

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School Mask Requirement Extended to Feb. 28
04:44PM / Monday, January 10, 2022
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BOSTON — The requirement for face coverings in public schools has been extended through Feb. 28.   The requirement for masking had initially been approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education last August to expire on Oct. 1; that was extended to Nov. 1 and then again to Jan. 15.    DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley on Monday alerted school districts that that masking would continue to at least Feb. 28 and possibly beyond that, pending changes in pandemic guidelines.    "The mask requirement remains an important measure to keep students safe in school at this time," the extension announcement stated.    Schools that meet the 80

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Williams College Not Seeing Severe Illness Associated with Spike in Positive COVID-19 Tests
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:45PM / Monday, January 10, 2022
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — One week into its Winter Study session, Williams College is not seeing an increase in the number of severe illnesses associated with a spike in positive test results for the novel coronavirus.   And the school's positive test rate, while still at one of its highest points during the COVID-19 pandemic, remains well below the positivity rate for Berkshire County, the Board of Health learned on Monday morning.   College counsel Jamie Art addressed the board at its monthly virtual meeting to give updates on current conditions at the school and what measures the college has implemented since students returned from winter break on Jan.

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Williams College Sees COVID-19 Numbers Spike
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:12AM / Tuesday, January 04, 2022
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — As Williams College on Monday began its first Winter Study since 2020, the school is reporting one of its highest COVID-19 positivity rates since it began a testing program in August 2020.   The college already last week announced measures to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus in anticipation of this weekend's return of students to campus.   On Monday afternoon, the school's "COVID-19 dashboard" was reporting a 3.41 percent positivity rate over the last seven days and 40 positive tests among students and staff in the last seven days.   To put that last number in context, the school has had 154 positive results from

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Governor Says Schools Will Remain Open
Staff Reports,
02:19PM / Monday, January 03, 2022
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SALEM, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker gave no indication that the schools will go remote this year despite the rising cases of COVID-19.   Speaking at Saltonstall School early Monday morning, the governor noted that his administration has "aggressively partnered" with schools across the state to ensure they could safely open in the new year.    "We said for quite awhile from the beginning of the school year, and in fact al the way back to last spring, that it was critically important for kids to be back in school for a number of reasons," he said during the livestream event, pointing to the potential affects of remote learning on social development,

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Berkshire High School Athletics 2021: A Year In Review
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports
04:52PM / Thursday, December 30, 2021
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"Normal" may still be a long way off.   But some of the usual suspects were back in their normal positions, at the top of the heap, during 2021's sports seasons.   The state's high school athletics governing body went 14 months without awarding a state championship. And once it did, a Berkshire County dynasty claimed another one.   The trend continued in the fall when one perennial power defended its state title and another earned a return trip to the biggest sports venue in New England.   Here is a look back at some of the athletes and teams making headlines in 2021.   Taconic baseball Coach Kevin Stannard's program earned its fourth straight

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Sullivan Named Superintendent's Award Winner at Mount Greylock
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:26AM / Thursday, December 23, 2021
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Student leader, scholar and standout athlete Christian Sullivan recently was awarded the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents' Academic Excellence Award at Mount Greylock Regional School.   Superintendent Jason McCandless announced Sullivan's selection at a School Committee meeting last month and shared with the panel some thoughts from Sullivan's guidance counselor.   "Academically, Christian has challenged himself in every way possible, including nine Advanced Placement classes, a dual enrollment Williams College course entitled 'The Tropics: Biology & Social Issues' and a virtual high school (VHS)

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