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Berkshire County Head Start closed due to coronavirus exposure

Kids playing with blocks on colorful floor.

Berkshire County Head Start in Pittsfield (pictured here in 2017) closed its doors Tuesday and will remain closed through the week after learning of a potential COVID-19 exposure.

PITTSFIELD — The Pittsfield branch of Berkshire County Head Start closed its doors Tuesday and will remain closed through the week after learning of a potential COVID-19 exposure on Monday night.

The preschool, which is home to about 100 students and staff members, will remain closed until Oct. 25, according to Executive Director Brett Westbrook. She would not comment or whether the exposure came from a student or staff member with the program.

“After learning of a potential COVID-19 exposure yesterday evening, we closed two of our classrooms,” Westbrook wrote in an email to The Eagle. “In an abundance of caution, we have made a programmatic decision to close our remaining classrooms at this location for the duration of the week in order to thoroughly clean and sanitize our building.”

Head Start is a federal program that provides child care and preschool for children from low-income families. The Berkshire County Head Start serves children 3- to 5-years-old across the county with locations in Great Barrington, Lee, Becket, North Adams and Pittsfield.

Westbrook said the Pittsfield preschool learned internally about the exposure and has been working closely with the Pittsfield Board of Health “to ensure the safety of our staff, families and community.”

“We have a very open communication [with the Board of Health] and we follow all of the protocols that are in place,” Westbrook said. “We get our guidance from them and make our own program decisions based on what’s happening.”

The last count by the Pittsfield Health Department estimated that there were 73 actively contagious coronavirus cases as of Oct. 17.

Meg Britton-Mehlisch can be reached at mbritton@berkshireeagle.com or 413- 496-6149.

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