Williams Elementary in-person classes TEACHER (copy)

Kindergarten teacher Kim McNeil finalizes the bus list for her students in her classroom at Williams Elementary School in Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD — A second Allendale Elementary School student has tested positive for COVID-19, as the total number of confirmed cases among Pittsfield Public Schools students rose to 37. 

The new case comes as elementary school students prepare to return to full-time in-person learning on Monday, as mandated by the state. 

In an announcement on Saturday, the district said it has not found evidence of in-school transmission and has decided that no classrooms, cohorts or grade levels will have to return to remote learning due to the new case. 

Districts do not have the authority to delay the return to in-person learning without approval from the state.

According to a PPS dashboard, almost every school in the district has at least one current case among students, with 12 cases identified in students at Taconic High School. Two staff members at Taconic and one at Williams Elementary School have also tested positive.

On Thursday, Interim Superintendent Joseph Curtis told The Eagle that contact tracers had not confirmed a single case of in-school transmission. At that time, the dashboard showed that the district had 28 cases among students.

The cases come as the virus appears to be surging again in Pittsfield, with average daily case rates similar to early January. Across Berkshire County, several health officials have said the virus seems to be spreading among younger people. 

Last week, school leaders in Pittsfield asked the Department of Elementary and Secondary education twice whether they could delay the state-mandated in-person learning for elementary school students, Curtis told The Eagle, and were denied.

Francesca Paris can be reached at fparis@berkshireeagle.com and 510-207-2535.