November 12, 2020

Dear BHRSD Community,

I’m writing with a brief update on our schools in relation to COVID-19.

As we approach Thanksgiving and the Holidays and as COVID-19 surges nationally and likely locally, we need to be especially vigilant and realize that our individual actions impact our community as a whole.

Berkshire County and our schools have carefully followed guidance on hand washing, mask wearing, and social distancing.  By and large our shared efforts have really paid off and as a community we have had a very low infection and transmission rate.  Thank you all so much for your efforts.

I meet weekly with a group of teachers and school committee members to look at data trends.  We are very concerned.  COVID-19 is taking hold all around us including in the Pioneer Valley and in Litchfield and Columbia Counties as well as in local restaurants, markets, and schools in other districts.  The prospect of us facing a significant outbreak is likely.

There are a few things we all need to do:

  1. Avoid travel and know that per the Governor’s order if you do travel you and everyone in your household need to quarantine for 14 days or test negative before sending your kids back to school.
  2. Avoid hosting out of town family and guests and know that per the Governor’s advisory if you do host out of town family or guests you (including your children) need to quarantine for 14 days or test negative before sending your kids back to school.
  3. Know that if you have children coming home from college and their college is in a red state, the college student will need to test and/or quarantine. If timelines are not met and the results are not back by the time we come back on 11/30/2020,  parents will not be able to work in school and siblings won’t be able to attend school in person.
  4. Continue hand washing, mask wearing, and social distancing.

Your actions in these next few weeks and months will either support or undermine our efforts to keep our schools open and our students engaged and learning.  We are in a moral compact with each other to protect our collective health and well-being.

If we have cases in a class, that class will likely shift to being fully remote.  If we have multiple impacted classes in a school, that school will likely shift to being fully remote.  Because we are all connected in so many ways, COVID-19 could spread quickly throughout our three schools. Your choices have the potential to impact dozens, if not hundreds, of BHRSD families.

So to reiterate, please use common sense and follow established guidelines.  Stay away from travel, hosting guests, and participating in events that increase the likelihood of spreading COVID-19.  Be particularly mindful at youth athletics, family events, and other gatherings.  Keep a particular eye on teens and young adults and work hard to model and enact behaviors that keep us all safe.

Please feel free to reach out to me, the principals, or the school nurses if you have any questions.  We have the capacity to manage this well.  Let’s continue to do that.

Stay well,

Peter Dillon, Ed.D.