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APRIL 21, 2020
CONNECT WITH COVID-19 COMMUNITY LIAISONS
     PHONE: 413-662-3614
     EMAIL: nbcovid@gmail.com


The community liaisons working with the Northern Berkshire COVID-19 Operations Center are available to support communities by providing information and connecting people with resources.
CONNECT WITH INFORMATION FROM THE CITY OF NORTH ADAMS
TODAY'S UPDATE
WHAT'S NEW IN TODAY'S UPDATE?

Thank you to everyone who supported our community during Northern Berkshires Cares Day today. #NorthBerkCares


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NEW! MASSACHUSETTS COVID-19 DATA AS OF APRIL 21, 2020

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health COVID-19 Dashboard presents data in an easy to interpret way and enhances the information provided in the previous daily reports with trends and situational insights into the epidemic. While this dashboard includes the same information from the daily reports, it presents new visuals of data and displays trends over time.

State update
Berkshire County update
  • Cases: 404 (+17 from April 20)
  • Deaths: 29 (+0 from April 20) [23 per 100,000 population]
North Adams update
  • Cases: 40 (+2 from April 20); 24 released from isolation
  • Deaths: 1 (+0 from April 20)
NEW! GOVERNOR EXTENDS SCHOOL CLOSURE THROUGH THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR

 
Governor Charlie Baker announced today that all public and private schools in Massachusetts will remain closed through the end of the 2019-2020 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students and educators will continue to remain connected through their remote learning plans, such as the one in place in the North Adams Public Schools district, and we will continue to ensure that we provide as much outreach and support for students' social and emotional needs as possible. Meal distribution also will continue through the end of the year.

I know this was not an easy decision, but I support it fully as the appropriate course of action to ensure the safety of our students, professional educators and staff, families, and the community at large, as well as to provide clarity and a definitive answer to what the remainder of the school year will look like.

I also echo the compassionate and empathetic messages from the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to high school seniors across Massachusetts, especially those in the North Adams Public Schools, at McCann Tech, and at BART. I know that our seniors deserve to have their accomplishments recognized, honored, and celebrated, but that these celebrations will happen in ways that will look and feel quite different from what our students expected. I am committed to working with students as well as with school and district leaders to ensure the year end celebrations for all students in the North Adams Public Schools are appropriate, meaningful, respectful, and inclusive of students’ thoughtful ideas, suggestions, and creativity.

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Extension of School and Non-Emergency Child Care Program Closures, Continued Steps to Support COVID-19 Response

New measures include deferred student loan payments, updated remote learning guidance and enacting legislation to protect residents from evictions and foreclosures

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced new actions to support the ongoing COVID-19 response, including extending the closure of all public and private schools through the end of the school year, and the closure of all non-emergency child care programs until June 29, 2020. The Administration also announced further support for students and families impacted by COVID-19. 

Schools and Non-Emergency Child Care Programs: Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order extending the closure of all public and private schools through the end of the school year, and the closure of all non-emergency childcare programs until June 29, 2020 in an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.

  • This order expands the March 25 order suspending normal educational operations at schools and non-emergency child care programs. The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) established a process to approve Exempt Emergency Child Care Programs to serve families of first responders, medical personnel and essential workers.
  • Emergency Child Care programs approved by EEC will continue operating. Currently there are 523 emergency child care programs statewide serving families of essential workers. Weekly attendance averages about 2,500 children in these programs across the Commonwealth.
  • EEC will continue to pay subsidies to child care providers based on their pre-COVID-19 enrollment, in order to support the workforce.
  • The order does not apply to residential special education schools.

Read the Orders here: K-12 School Order Link Child Care Program Link

Child Care Program Resources: The Department of Early Education and Care is reviewing its regulations and funding programs to develop new approaches to incrementally restore child care capacity for family child care and center-based programs in the coming months.

  • To support families of essential workers and families with children who have special needs, EEC and Care.com have partnered to assist currently unemployed child care workers and provide skilled in-home care. Care.com is offering both eligible families and child care workers free 90-day premium memberships, accessible here.
  • Complementing the existing partnership between WGBH and DESE, EEC is launching further collaboration with WGBH to provide resources and activities for parents with young children.

Remote Learning Resources: The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will issue updated guidelines for schools to support remote learning efforts through the duration of the school year, including expanded STEM learning, and will prepare recommendations to strengthen summer learning opportunities for students.

  • DESE has launched a Remote Learning Essentials initiative, focused on addressing access to tools, Internet connectivity, and educator training necessary to enhance remote learning during school closures.
  • The department is conducting a survey of school districts to identify barriers that inhibit effective remote learning, including challenges around inequitable access to technology.
  • An advisory group of administrators, educators, parents, students and business leaders will engage external partners to mobilize resources for schools, including philanthropic gifts and in-kind contributions.
  • DESE will also solicit input from national and local education vendors regarding the potential to create a statewide online education platform for districts to opt into and customize.

STEM Learning: In partnership with EEC, DHE, the STEM Advisory Council and Regional STEM Networks, DESE has established online STEM education resources to provide continued support for remote learning opportunities. This includes virtual STEM learning opportunities for both students and teachers, and is accessible here. 

No-Interest Student Loan Program: The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) is deferring scheduled repayments for its No-Interest Loan Program for a duration of four months to support relief efforts during the COVID-19 public health emergency. These deferments will help approximately 12,000 students that participate in the $5 million program annually funded through the repayment of loans.

  • All no-interest loan accounts currently in repayment will automatically be placed in a deferment from April 2020 through July 2020. This deferment will not count toward the program’s permissible 36 months of available deferment.
  • If a payment has already been made for April, that payment will be applied to the outstanding balance and not refunded. While accounts are in deferment, borrowers who wish to continue monthly payments may do so, without incurring late fees until July 31, 2020.
  • Accounts currently 120 days past due will not be placed into collections until August 2020, and regular credit bureau reporting will resume at the end of August.

Eviction and Foreclosure Protections: Yesterday, Governor Baker signed legislation into law to protect homeowners and tenants from eviction and foreclosure. An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 emergency ensures housing stability for residents and families, and can be read in its entirety here.

Here is a link to the slides Adams Town Administrator Jay Green and I shared during today's Northern Berkshire COVID-19 Update on Northern Berkshire Community Television.
CITY OF NORTH ADAMS CONTACTS
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City of North Adams, Massachusetts · 10 Main St · City Hall · North Adams, MA 01247-3419 · USA

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