Interim Superintendent Joseph Curtis.

Pittsfield Public School Interim Superintendent Joseph Curtis.

PITTSFIELD — So far, so good. But, time will tell. That was the interim school chief’s message Monday about the coronavirus and the resumption of in-person classes.

Interim Superintendent Joseph Curtis debuted a prerecorded Zoom talk on Monday in which he recapped testing numbers for the city of Pittsfield. Curtis said he will provide a video briefing every day through Thursday. A pending decision about students’ return to schools before Christmas depends on how cases develop this week in the wake of the Thanksgiving break, Curtis said.

Out of 760 swabs for the virus in a recent “pop-up” testing session, four positive cases were detected, he said. That relatively low number needs to be sustained for schools to resume in-person sessions in Pittsfield.

Joseph Curtis Zoom message

This is a screenshot from a prerecorded Zoom presentation that Interim Superintendent Joseph Curtis delivered Monday to school families in Pittsfield.

“This very low positivity rate is a tribute to how well our students and staff are following protocols,” Curtis said in the message, distributed to school families throughout the city.

The district’s shift to all-remote instruction is, so far, scheduled to run only through Friday. But, Curtis said Monday that the break from in-person study depends on hard evidence of the disease’s continued spread in Pittsfield, particularly in light of a surge of cases at the Hillcrest Commons Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. As of Nov. 28, tests showed positive cases in 42.4 out of 100,000 people, a rate of 4.5 percent. Curtis noted that on Oct. 27, the day all students returned to in-person learning, the rate was 2.2 positive cases per 100,000 people, for a positivity rate of 0.7 percent.

Larry Parnass can be reached at and 413-588-8341.

Investigations editor

Larry Parnass, investigations editor, joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant and CommonWealth Magazine.