The Central Berkshire Regional School District will move back to remote learning starting Monday, joining several other public school districts around the county.
Wahconah Regional High School already has gone remote after seeing three confirmed COVID-19 cases and 12 other people in quarantine as a result of exposure in the community.
Now, the district’s elementary schools and middle school also will return to fully virtual learning because of a rise in confirmed cases in Dalton and surrounding towns. The district informed families in an announcement Friday.
“In recent weeks, Berkshire County has seen a ten-fold increase of new confirmed cases per day,” the district wrote. “And we have felt the impact of these cases within both our school community and town communities.”
So far, the cases have had confirmed links to Wahconah and potential links to two other schools in the district, according to Barbara Craft-Reiss, the chair of the CBRSD School Committee.
Craft-Reiss told The Eagle that the district has not yet determined a return date.
“It’s all based on the metrics,” Craft-Reiss said. “So, while we’re hoping [the return to hybrid learning] will be after Thanksgiving, we’re not confident.”
The town of Dalton has entered the commonwealth’s “yellow” risk metric, with 18 cases over the past two weeks and a positivity rate of 2.66 percent, according to state data released Thursday. Craft-Reiss said that several other municipalities within the district also are trending up.
All towns must be cleared as gray or green in the state’s tracking system before any reopening, she said.
In its announcement to families, the district said it was following guidance from the Dalton Board of Health and the Berkshire Public Health Alliance. The district also urged families to follow state guidance and keep holiday gatherings small, “preferably with people in your own household or social circle.”
Craft-Reiss said the long stretch of hybrid learning this fall will make the transition to virtual teaching easier.
“Teachers know their kids, and that’s the good news,” she said. “There’s a lot of great instruction going on currently, which makes us so sad to put an end to it for right now, but we owe it to our community and our children, teachers and staff to be safe.”
Across the county, Pittsfield, Hoosac Valley and Lenox all have returned to fully remote learning. In North Adams, Drury High School also has gone virtual, but the elementary schools remain in a hybrid model.