In-Person Return To School Off The Table This Fall
Public schools in the City of Pittsfield will not be seeing students return to an in-person classroom setting for the time being. The Pittsfield School Committee met virtually for well over three hours Monday and decided to remove a full in-school education model, at least in terms of the fall, from the options to be considered.
Pittsfield School’s superintendent, Jason McCandless, was on our sister station LIVE 95.9 FM last week. He spoke about the three option that were being looked at. They included an in-person option, a remote only option, and a hybrid option which would combine both in person and remote learning.
IBerkshires.com reports that, now that the in-person option is off the table, the committee has directed the administration to submit to the state a preliminary plan that would include a hybrid learning plan as well as a remote learning plan. The district will report that the state's preferred full in-person learning is not a possibility.
On the state level, while the state has been setting up the potential for reopening schools by providing health guidelines and restrictions, there has been no decision made by Gov. Charlie Baker's administration.
Baker has been resisting pressure from the federal government to reopen schools amid a threat of possible withholding of federal aid if that does not happen.
Meanwhile, negotiations with bargaining units continue. According to Monday’s IBerkshires.com article, the United Educators of Pittsfield posted a statement through social media stating that they wish to resume education in the fall remotely. The teachers' union felt a remote learning period would allow time to fully develop a hybrid learning plan that would work for both students and staff.
Deputy Superintendent Joseph Curtis says that they are looking to enter negotiations in earnest this week and the committee’s vote allows the administration to continue negotiating a hybrid and remote model.