The four small schools in the North Berkshire School Union went back to the classroom as of today, even as some larger school districts are planning a remote learning quarantine for the first weeks of the new year.

Superintendent John Franzoni said,

"We haven't had any positive cases for anybody that works or goes to school in our district, so we're very happy with that, on Wednesday. We've got a safety protocol we put in place that has been successful and we're looking forward to welcoming everybody back on Monday for in-person learning we're obviously very pleased with the fact we can educate our kids in person."

Iberkshires.com reports that the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education had reported in its most recent communication that there are only 20 school districts across the state operating as full-day models for in person learning, he said, and that three of the districts are part of the school union.

Gabriel Abbott Memorial School in the town of Florida, Emma Miller School in Savoy and Rowe Elementary have been operating with full day, in-person learning since the start of the school year on Sept. 8. Clarksburg Elementary, the largest school in the union serving kindergarten through Grade 8, has been hybrid for Grades 6 to 8 because of space restrictions.

Kindergarten through Grade 5 have been in school since the beginning with the middle school grades taking turns attending half days in person and the other half in synchronous remote learning. The superintendent said there may be an opportunity next year when the weather gets warmer to bring more of the students back to the school.

Families and staff have been strongly encouraged to isolate and participate by remote if they have traveled or had possible exposure.

Clarksburg has had 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including the first recorded in Berkshire County; as of Dec. 24, it had one confirmed case in a two-week period. Florida and Savoy have had fewer than five cases and Rowe five exactly; none of those towns had had a positive case in the two weeks before Christmas.

North Adams will not return to in-person learning until Jan. 19, as a buffer against possible COVID-19 exposures over the holidays. McCann Technical will reopen Jan. 4 for hybrid learning.

Franzoni said school officials feel confident that the NBSU schools continue to be safe places for the students and staff because of the updated safety guidelines in place.

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