April 21 Covid-19 Update: Remote learning extended through the end of the school year.

Dear Staff, Students, Parents and Guardians,

Earlier today Governor Charles Baker announced an extension of remote learning, with Massachusetts school closures through the remainder of the school year. This was not an easy decision, but one made with the safety and health of our children as the priority. COVID-19 is a pandemic that has transformed our way of life, including schooling itself. We need to remember that it is an infectious disease that does not discriminate. We not only need to flatten the curve, but get to the other side of it. We need the number of cases to not only remain constant, but to decline. The only successful tools we have in preventing the spread of this disease are to remain vigilant in following federal and state guidance, including washing your hands frequently, practicing social distancing, and wearing a face mask in public spaces.

School buildings are closed, but education is still in session.

We must continue to do our part in supporting each other through the duration of this crisis. We will continue our remote learning through the end of this school year, which is scheduled for June 18, 2020. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will be releasing guidance on essential standards and educational content that students will need to know to advance to the next grade level. For students to receive credit for the remainder of this school year, they must participate in remote learning activities and submit requested assessments of learning. North Adams Public Schools is committed to supporting our families in the education of children and we will be providing more help and guidance in the coming week. Please remember, you are not alone. Our schools’ administrators, staff, and teachers will continue to help you navigate all aspects of the remote learning plan and requirements.

Technological support is available if you need it.

If a student needs access to a device, please complete the form on the district website, www.napsk12.org, or call 413-776-1458 to initiate your request for the needed device. If you need access to the internet, you can take advantage of the increased bandwidth at the Greylock Elementary School and Brayton Elementary School parking lots, as well as through the North Adams Public Library. Home internet access can be obtained through a remote service provider.

Meal distribution program will continue through the end of the school year.

Grab and Go meals (lunch and the following day’s breakfast) will continue to be distributed through the remainder of the school year, Monday through Friday:

            Brayton Elementary School               11:00 to noon

            Colegrove Park Elementary School   11:00 to noon

            Greylock Apartments                          11:00 to noon

            Mohawk Forest Apartments               11:00 to noon

            UNO Center parking lot                      11:00 to noon

Weekend meals will continue to be distributed during Friday’s lunch.

We remain committed to recognizing student accomplishments.

Senior students would have expected to return from spring break to complete their class requirements, enjoy prom, and celebrate graduation. While not all events can translate to a remote platform, we will work with our school community and community at-large to ensure that students receive recognition for their accomplishments. More will be shared on this in the next few weeks.

This has not been easy. People are experiencing a range of emotions including anger, anxiety, depression, grief, loss, and stress. This is all perfectly understandable. What we cannot do is let these emotions defeat us. I am reminded that a friend once told me that in the history of our nation, there have been worse times, and yet we have not only survived, but have thrived. We will survive this time and have the opportunity to create a unique view of the profession of education separate from accountability, standards, and testing. If any community can accomplish great things in the face of adversity, it is the school community of North Adams.

Stay safe.

Thank you.

Barbara Malkas, Ed.D.