PITTSFIELD — As the city marks the solemn one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents are reflecting on the loss and hardship endured by so many during the deadly period.

Daily COVID-19 infections are still being reported at a high rate, and variants are spreading across the globe. Medical experts are predicting that some of the habits we all picked up this year, like mask wearing, will carry forward into a “new normal” in society.

But while health leaders continue to urge vigilance as efforts to contain the virus continue, many have found reason to focus on the glimmers of hope as vaccinations bring into sight the eventual recovery — Tyler Street business owners found bright spots amid the economic downtown, and health leaders say that some day, things like singing in church and shaking hands will return to the cultural sphere.

And even before that time comes, many are making concerted efforts to bring a bit of joy to day-to-day life in a pandemic. Famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma did his part over the weekend, when he played a concert at the city’s vaccination site Saturday after he received his second dose.

Meanwhile, the city’s school district is preparing to welcome back middle and elementary school students to classrooms full time next month, per the state’s mandate. The return comes after the School Committee took its first look at the district administration’s proposed $67,261,700 budget for fiscal year 2022, and as the committee on Monday is set to enter executive session to discuss negotiations over new multi-year contracts for its employee unions.

The Community Development Board on Tuesday will review a request from Kryppies LLC to move its proposed cannabis retail location to suites 1 and 2 of 1450 East St. The company had previously won approval for a retail location in another suite in the same building.

The relocation request also needs approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals, which will take up the matter at its 7 p.m. meeting on Wednesday.

A policy proposal to address bias-based policing, or racial profiling, is up for discussion by the Police Advisory and Review Board at its Zoom meeting at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Parks Commission meets later that evening at 7 p.m., and will be setting out to develop a “draft action plan” for overnight camping in city parks. The commission and city have been criticized for their handling of the homeless crisis over the past several months, when it threatened to end its so-called policy of “compassionate tolerance” for those living in city parks.

Springside Park became a flashpoint in controversy for its encampments. The Parks Commission will talk about Springside Park for a different reason, however, when it hears an update on the proposed $400,000 mountain bike skills course that several bike advocacy groups are fundraising to build in the park.

Heads up

Tax season is upon us. Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity is offering free tax preparation services through April 15 through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. You can call 413-442-3184 to make an appointment or receive more information about the initiative by Guardian Life and Berkshire United Way.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com, on Twitter @amandaburkec and 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.