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As the district prepares to educate large numbers of students in classrooms for full school days this month, a district leader said hundreds of families are uncomfortable with the shift. 268 families across all grade levels have alerted the district that they’re uncomfortable with sending children back to classrooms full time. Meanwhile, the Pittsfield Public Virtual Academy, the district’s fully remote academic offering that began at the start of the school year, is full, with 567 students enrolled and a waitlist.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that, under a mandate from the state, Pittsfield Public Schools beginning Monday will offer full days of classroom learning for elementary schoolers, who have been receiving a mix of classroom instruction and remote learning.

Despite COVID-19 trends, Interim Superintendent Joseph Curtis says the district is on track to offer full-time classroom instruction to middle school students beginning on the state deadline of April 28.

As far as prepping goes to bring more students back into classrooms, there will be less space available to distance those students and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says that 3 feet of social distance between students is acceptable.

Curtis said.

“We will be following three feet of distancing, except for meal service, which will be six feet,”

For the first time in more than a year, the district will be serving students lunches at school starting this month. The plans include using gymnasiums, classrooms, and even outdoor tents when the weather permits for meals. The district also purchased thousands of additional individual desks that seat one student, which in some schools are planned to replace communal tables.

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