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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The chair of the Mount Greylock School Committee’s Education Subcommittee on Tuesday repeatedly pressed the district’s interim superintendent to develop benchmarks that could be met in order to allow a return to full in-person instruction…

Several times during a more than two-hour virtual meeting, Steven Miller reiterated his contention that the Lanesborough-Williamstown district is uniquely situated to move to full, in-person instruction…

“We are at the point where we are having very few infections found daily in Berkshire County,” Miller said. “We are in a rural area. This is the time to act on something like this, to get our kids back to school. I would like to see every kid back at least two days a week. For the elementary schools, I would like to see them back five days a week as soon as we can.”
We are major advocates of in-person, obviously,” said John Skavlem, a former member of the defunct Williamstown Elementary School Committee who joined the meeting alongside his wife…
“Adolescence is hard enough without having all of these ramifications of the pandemic on top of it. As … others in the community have expressed their concern about the amount of mental and social consequences — mental health, depression, things like suicidality — I didn’t know that was a word until [recently] — that they’re hearing in our community is really, really concerning. That’s before I go into things like kids with idle time and drug and alcohol abuse at that age.
“These are really significant consequences. Those are lifetime consequences.”


Later, Hammann pointed out that while Berkshire County currently is in a good position with respect to COVID-19 diagnoses, that could change “with the influx of tourists.” Williamstown Elementary School teacher Maureen Andersen pointed out that Williams College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts both will see the return of students at the end of the month.
How can local government advocate for keeping school children home indefinitely while at the same time accept risk for the return of Williams? That makes no practical sense.  There is no such thing as zero risk in life.
Accepting risk for education of the affluent while banishing poor rural children to ignorance is an ugly position.
Without benchmarks, what is the policy? Miller is correct to pressure his peers and others to come up with specifics.
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