Jason P. McCandless, Ed.D.
Pittsfield Public Schools
269 First Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance
Joseph C. Curtis
Berkshire Medical Center Covid-19 Hotline 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
All Schools and Programs are closed through the remainder of the school year. The final day of Remote Learning is June 19.
Friday, March 27, 2020
Saturday and Sunday meals provided by the Berkshire United Way and local restaurants will again be offered at Conte Community School, the Morningside Community School, and the Boys and Girls Club from 11:30 am to 12:30 PM. We asked anyone using this service to please remember to keep a six-foot distance from other friends and neighbors who are there.
Beginning Monday, March 30, the Pittsfield Public Schools will begin a new schedule for breakfast and lunch service to better provide for a more sustainable program for our foodservice team.
Meal service will run from Noon (12:00 PM) to 1:00 PM
From Monday, March 30 forward we will be serving meals on the following new schedule:
Monday: Meals for Monday and Tuesday
Tuesday: No Service
Wednesday: Meals for Wednesday and Thursday
Thursday: No Service
Friday: Meals for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Good Afternoon Pittsfield Public School Families,
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Good Afternoon Pittsfield Public School Families,
The Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, has just announced that statewide school closures will be extended through the month of April with classes beginning again on Monday, May 4.
You will be receiving guidance on the continuation of “doing school” the best we can tomorrow, Thursday, March 26. Please be on the lookout for this communication.
We will be sending further guidance on everything from athletics to MCAS testing as it becomes available.
We thank you for your patience and perseverance during very challenging times.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Hello Pittsfield Families,
Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten registration will resume when the Pittsfield Public Schools reopens. All families will be notified of new registration dates and hours via call, email, text, Facebook, and Instagram. Everyone will have an opportunity to register their child.
Monday, March 23, 2020
Governor Baker has issued the following as of noon tomorrow, March 24, 2020
Governor Charlie Baker Orders All Non-Essential Businesses To Cease In Person Operation, Directs the Department of Public Health to Issue Stay at Home Advisory For Two Weeks
Updates Assembly Order to Limit Gatherings to 10 people
Governor Baker's Assemblage Guidance (Prohibiting gatherings of ten or more people and prohibiting onsite consumption of food and beverages)
The City of Pittsfield has released a notice that all school and city playground equipment is closed and off limits. Parks remain open. For more information, please see:
Monday, March 23, 2020
At our 11:30 to 12:30 meal distribution today we will be sending students home with food for today, tomorrow and for Wednesday as the weather over the next two days may be problematic for both our staff and our students.
If you are able, please bring a shopping bag, as students will have several packages to carry.
The sites (please see below) will re-open on Thursday, March 26.
We hope you and your family are well. We also hope that anyone who is able to stay home please do so, as avoiding person to person contact is crucial to slowing the spread of Covid-19.
Thank you and please continue to take care of yourselves and those in your home.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
This is Superintendent Jason McCandless calling/writing with critically important information that you need to know. Please listen to this entire message.
We believe that members of our school community are likely positive for Covid-19. We believe that at least one individual has been in contact with students and with staff.
Our immediate concern is with staff and students at Reid Middle School due to potential positive cases. We urge Reid families and staff to be particularly watchful for potential symptoms of Covid-19, including coughing, a fever, and shortness of breath and to contact their healthcare provider if anyone has these symptoms. The Berkshire Medical Center Covid-19 Hotline is available daily at 855-262-5465 from 7 am to 7 pm to answer questions and concerns.
City Health Department Officials will be in touch with your family if you are believed to have an exposure to any individual who has tested positive for Covid-19. We ask you to please cooperate fully and completely with our local health authorities.
Again, the Berkshire Medical Center Covid-19 Hotline is available daily from 7 am to 7 pm to answer questions and concerns.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Good Afternoon PPS Community,
We hope you are well during very challenging times.
I am calling today to let you know that we are continuing to work with our entire team to keep children fed, to get buildings cleaned and sanitized, and to help the City in any we can to help our community deal with the current situation.
We will be communicating with you next week about how we will make the turn toward focusing on keeping more formal instruction happening over the course of what may be a lengthy school closure. We hope to open again in early April, but we are planning for a closure that extends well into April and beyond.
We ask you for continued patience as you work to keep your children occupied, entertained, and educated during extraordinary times. We know this is very difficult. We will be sending detailed plans and policies that will guide us through offering "school" in our City, even as our school buildings remain closed. Part of the logic behind our initial two-week closure, and the Commonwealth’s subsequent three-week closure was to give the district time to work through the many, many layers of moving to an alternate educational model. We serve over 5,200 children with a team of over 600 licensed educators--and this is a complete shift in the way public schools do business.
Our goal, in the absence of a statewide approach to teaching and learning during this closure, is to approach this time with a unified, k-12 approach for the sake of clarity and ease of use for as many families as possible.
Our website, www.pittsfield.net, has a link to many educational activities, as well as a host of other information on our Covid-19 section, found at:
We thank you for being good neighbors as we work to get through these times that are challenging on so many levels to so many families.
We thank you for following the idea of social distancing and responsible living as we work to shorten the duration of this situation and reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Jason P. McCandless
Friday, March 20, 2020
Through the generosity of the COVID-19 EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND FOR BERKSHIRE COUNTY and local restaurants, lunch will be provided for children on Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22 from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires on Melville Street in Pittsfield.
CHANGES AND ADDITIONS TO OUR GRAB-AND-GO MEAL SITES:
The Gladys Brigham Center will no longer be able to serve as a grab and go meal site.
One new site has been added:
Wilson Park Housing (Memorial Drive, Pittsfield)
Our current sites are:
To learn more or donate to the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund for Berkshire County please see https://www.berkshireunitedway.org/covid-19-emergency-response-fund.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Please remember and please pass on that Pittsfield Public Schools is serving grab-and-go breakfast and lunches from 11:30 AM until 12:30 PM every weekday that we are out of school.
Please note we have added and an additional community breakfast/lunch for children site at
The Berkshire Peak Apartments, located at 341 West Street.
Our current sites are:
We are in daily communication with City and State authorities regarding Covid-19 precautions and preparations. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we all work together to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. Please remember to check back here for updates.
Monday, March 16, 2020
Today the PPS was able to serve close to 250 meals to students thanks to the efforts of Nutrition and Transportation professionals here in the district. We are very grateful to these individuals. Our sites for grab-and-go meals are as follows:
Please see our see our Covid-19 Useful Links page at
to help families handle Covid-19 related stress during very stressful times, and some ideas about how to actually keep "social distance" in today's world. We thank you for your patience during extraordinary times.
Please take care.
Saturday, March 14, 2020
The Pittsfield Public Schools, the City of Pittsfield, and our many community-based-partners are dedicated to the well being of our entire community. To that end, the Pittsfield Public Schools will be providing once-a-day grab-and-go breakfast and lunch packages to children in our City. These nutritious grab-and-go food packages will be available between 11:30 am and 12:30 PM at the following sites in the City of Pittsfield for the next two weeks (weekdays through Friday, March 27, 2020):
We are grateful to our School Nutrition and Transportation professionals in the school district for making this possible. We are also grateful to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and to the Federal Department of Agriculture for making this vital service available.
Thank you to all the partners identified above for making this program for the community’s children possible.
Friday, March 13, 2020
Dear Pittsfield Public Schools Community,
I am writing to inform you that due to our moral obligation to help slow down the potential spread of Covid-19 that the Pittsfield Public Schools will be closed from the end of business today until Monday, March 30, 2020. This closure may be extended depending on the situation at the time.
This includes all PPS students at our 12 schools, all off site programs, and all day (non-residential) special education programs. This includes the Central Office. We will be available by email.
Further closure is not scheduled at this time, but remains an option.
We ask you to please ask your children to stay at home during this time as much as possible. This is not a vacation--this is for the health and wellness of your child, your family, our staff. Our entire community is best served by this.
The purpose of this action is to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Although this action is more stringent than the general recommendations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, we take this action after much reading, discussion, conversation, and much soul searching as we understand that a lengthy school closure is incredibly difficult for many families. We believe that our obligation to help keep kids, their families, their extended families, and our community safe warrants this extraordinary measure.
It is almost impossible to maintain a safe, appropriate “social distance” in a school setting (Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance--approximately 6 feet or 2 meters--from others when possible. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/risk-assessment.html). Maintaining social distance is vital in slowing the transmission or Covid-19. Currently, gatherings of large numbers are being discouraged and asked to be postponed or canceled. School is a daily gathering of larger scope and size--particularly at meal times.
We believe that our only responsible course of action at this point in time is to close school for a full two weeks.
During that time:
A closure means a closure for most employees. We need to enforce the notion of social separation, and advise that this practice applies to all aspects of life during these two weeks.
Please be aware that:
We understand this is an extraordinary step to take.
These are extraordinary times.
We value every single one of your children. We value every single member of your family--including those most at risk from serious outcomes from Covid-19. We value every single one of our employees and their families. We value our friends and neighbors here in Pittsfield and in Berkshire County and the Commonwealth. This is why we are taking this decisive action to help slow the spread of Covid-19.
Thank you for your understanding.
Jason P. McCandless, Superintendent
Thursday, March 12, 2020
Currently, the Pittsfield Public Schools are remaining open and will be open on Friday, March 13. We are closely watching developments in Pittsfield and in the surrounding region to make future determinations. Likewise, we are working with all state and local health authorities to ensure we are serving our community in the best ways possible.
Today Mayor Tyer made an Emergency Declaration for the City of Pittsfield. Mayor Tyer states, “The Emergency Declaration is an administrative tool that allows municipal government to access state and federal resources to better serve the community as COVID-19 evolves. I want to emphasize that this is an administrative tool that will allow us to more quickly and efficiently utilize and coordinate municipal services, equipment, supplies, and facilities. It allows us to be nimble and responsive as circumstances require. Furthermore, the declaration also triggers the establishment of a unified command that will be comprised of senior-level city officials for the purposes of tracking, monitoring, planning, and executing our actions.”
A press release regarding Mayor Tyer’s address today can be found here Covid-19 Emergency Declaration, and this link will take you to a video of the Mayor’s address on the Channel 22 (WWLP) website: https://www.wwlp.com/news/local-news/berkshire-county/watch-live-pittsfield-mayor-to-provide-update-on-coronavirus-preparedness-plan/
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Please be aware of some changes to the District Coronavirus webspace, which can be found at: Coronavirus (Covid 19) Update District Website
At the top of the page, you will see two links, one entitled “Status of PPS Events” which is a list of activities and
events that are still ongoing in green, and the activities and events that have been canceled or postponed in red. This list is subject to change at any time, so please check back frequently.
The second change is to place all of the helpful links related to Coronavirus under the “Covid-19 Useful Links” heading.
As always, we are thankful for your time and partnership as we work together to keep schools safe and healthy places for our young treasures to learn and grow.
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
As you know from reading and watching the news, the Covid-19 situation continues to evolve nationally, globally, and here locally.
Today’s Information in a nutshell:
We are reversing yesterday’s decision to go ahead with school-based after hours activities like dances, fundraisers, game nights, etc. We simply think that at this point it is wiser to cancel these events where dozens if not hundreds of people will be present. This includes all events through the entire month of March, and we will revisit April, May and June as the situation develops. We take no pleasure in taking away pieces of kids’ and families’ school experience--but we also know it is the right thing to do at this point.
High school athletic practices for the Spring season, 21st Century After School Learning programs, and other co-curricular and curricular programs (after school jazz band, before school orchestra, high school musical rehearsals for instance) will proceed for now.
On Wednesday our Taconic Mens and Womens Basketball teams travel to Western New England University for the State Semi-Final Games. The State finals are on Saturday in Worcester. These events will be the last out of the county travel we are allowing for the foreseeable future, including end-of-year trips. Again, we understand this can be painful for kids and families, but so can paying a deposit for a trip and then not being able to go. No one will agree with all of our decisions, this is natural, but please understand that we base our decisions on the best available information and on what is the safest thing for our children, their families, and our staff and their families.
Both Taconic and Pittsfield High have musicals coming up later in March and April. These are highlights of the year for many and represent hundreds of hours of work from our students, staff and theater families. We will make a decision on these events as we get closer to the performances of The Wizard of Oz at THS, and RENT at PHS. We will keep you posted.
We ask any family who is subject to voluntary or involuntary quarantine to please let your principal or my office know this information as soon as possible.
Please refer to the links at the beginning of this page for help in understanding Covid-19, and for resources to help you speak with your children about the virus.
Monday, March 9, 2020
Two important pieces of information today related to ongoing concerns about the Covid-19 Virus:
All in-house activities including individual school-based-activities, things like dances, musicals/plays, PTO events, fundraisers, fun-nights, game nights, etc. can move forward as planned. We suggest having additional restrooms open for handwashing and have as much hand sanitizer as you can as a courtesy to guests. Please use special discretion in the service of food and drink. We suggest you avoid any non-prepackaged food and/or drinks.
We postponed the Allendale, Conte, Stearns, Williams joint-school band concert for several reasons, and we see individual school-based events as being different in substance than this particular event.
Sunday, March 8, 2020
Good Afternoon Pittsfield Public School Community,
This is Superintendent Jake McCandless calling with an update for our community. All of these updates can be found through the Coronavirus (Covid-19) link on our district homepage, www.pittsfield.net.
Most importantly--please know that our schools are open and ready to keep doing the vital work of educating students.
Beginning today, the Berkshire Medical Center call center is available For public inquiries about Covid-19. This is a toll free call and available from 7 am to 7 pm daily. The toll free number is 855-BMC-LINK (855-262-5465)
We in the schools continue to work to clean and sanitize the schools and buses on a daily basis using disinfectants that are on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) list of suggested products. We have additional resources for cleaning and sanitizing arriving regularly, and more on order.
Please remind your children about the importance and proper technique for hand washing, and please keep your child home if they have a persistent cough, are experiencing shortness of breath, and/or have a fever--and please let your child’s physician know.
We will continue to be judicious about large public events and field trips, and will make any changes to our schedule public via these calls/emails and through regular school-based communications.
We are grateful to the Mayor, the City Health Department, and all other local, state, and federal agencies as we work to keep our community safe, healthy, and focused on our work.
Saturday, March 7, 2020
Dear PPS Friends and Families,
As you are likely aware, Berkshire County now has a “presumptive case” of the Corvid-19 virus (https://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/presumptive-coronavirus-case-reported-at-berkshire-medical-center-in-pittsfield,599386).
Several of our administrative staff took part in a conference call with officials from the Massachusetts Department of Health and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on Friday. Currently, the DESE and Governor Baker are asking all school districts in the Commonwealth to cancel any overseas trips. We have already done this through the end of May--see the document that follows this message. All State authorities continue to monitor this situation and are in communication with towns, cities, and school districts.
We are also examining all travel including travel within Berkshire County as I write. For now--again, please see the document that follows--we have cancelled or postponed all out-of-the-County travel. We have one trip overseas at the end of June--which we are holding off on cancelling to allow time to see what the next several months bring. We are taking this proactive stance in an effort to better allow PTOs (Parent/Teacher Organizations) and other trip sponsors to work to reclaim deposits made on these trips. We understand the cancellation of trips is disappointing to all involved. We thank you for your understanding.
Our district nurses and Nurse Leader met with the City’s Public Health Nurse and Health Department director on Friday in order to ensure that we are working together for the good of all residents and all children, staff, and their families.
We continue to be in daily communication with City officials and have been meeting daily with our own team here at the PPS to continue to discuss our efforts at helping students and staff stay safe and healthy.
As we continue to monitor this situation and to seek guidance from federal, state and local health authorities, we urge everyone to:
Saturday, March 7, 2020 Travel Restrictions
To All Pittsfield Public School Employees:
In an abundance of caution and concern, the following decisions will be in place as indicated below:
Through the end of May
Additional Important Directives :
We understand that these protocols have potential financial costs, emotional costs, and perhaps even opportunity costs--and we are sorry for this to you and to your students, PTO’s, and other supporters. We thank you in advance for your understanding.
March 4, 2020
THE CITY OF PITTSFIELD OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
70 Allen Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
Roberta McCulloch-Dews, MSPP
Director of Administrative Services, Office of the Mayor, City of Pittsfield 413-499-9322
Statement from Mayor Linda Tyer on Coronavirus Concerns in the City of Pittsfield
As information about the coronavirus continues to evolve, we recognize our community’s growing concerns about this global situation. We know that there are many messages about the coronavirus and what that means for Pittsfield.
Here are the facts: there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the City of Pittsfield and the risk continues to remain low for coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, per the Massachusetts Department of Health.
The City of Pittsfield continues to seriously monitor these developments, and today (March 3) a core team of city and school officials met to discuss the city’s coronavirus preparedness plans. As part of this strategic effort, Pittsfield will continue to firmly adhere to guidelines and protocols about the coronavirus, which have been established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Mass DPH. We are also working closely with members of our regional public health network, including the Berkshire County Board of Health Association and the Pittsfield Board of Health, to monitor and plan appropriately as more information becomes available.
It is important to remember that the risk for the flu remains high. It’s not too late to get a flu shot. Mass DPH recommends the following precautions that will help to prevent against the flu and other viruses, including the coronavirus, include the following:
To stay up to date with comprehensive and accurate information, we encourage you to visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-public-health, and the https://www.cdc.gov/
February 28, 2020
A Message to Families, Staff, and Friends Regarding the Coronavirus (Covid19)
As you certainly are aware, the Coronavirus (Covid 19) is dominating all media everywhere and even growing ever-present in conversations here locally. The Pittsfield Public Schools, like every other school system in America and around the world, has been discussing, planning, and working on our reaction to this illness. Our work has included discussions and work internally and with the City, reading and learning about the illness, and practicing additional cleaning and sanitizing protocols in our schools to protect our children and staff.
Coming back from Winter break we know that we had students in Italy and Spain (our students were not in the geographic hotspot for the virus) and we assume we had families at vacation destinations here locally and perhaps even around the world. Our school health professionals know what to look for in terms of symptoms, and we are working closely with the City Health Department and with families to address needs and concerns.
As with most issues of concern, we believe education is one of the strategies we must use to combat fear. We suggest the following links to learn more about the illness, our Commonwealth’s reaction to it, how to better stop its spread, and how to help your child or children understand the virus.
Un mensaje para las familias, el personal y amigos acerca del coronavirus (Covid19)
Como ustedes seguramente ya estarán informados, últimamente el Coronavirus (Covid 19) ha sido tema de conversa en todos los medios, por todas partes, e incluso localmente en nuestra comunidad.
Las Escuelas Públicas de Pittsfield, como cualquier otro sistema escolar en Estados Unidos y en todo el mundo, han estado discutiendo, planificando y trabajando en nuestra reacción a esta enfermedad. En nuestro trabajo se ha incluido discusiones y trabajo interno con la Ciudad, leer y aprender sobre la enfermedad, y practicar protocolos adicionales de limpieza y desinfección en nuestras escuelas para proteger a nuestros niños y al personal.
Al regresar de las vacaciones de invierno, tenemos entendido que hubo estudiantes que visitaron Italia y España (sin embargo, nuestros estudiantes no estuvieron en el punto de acceso geográfico para el virus) y suponemos que tuvimos familias en destinos de vacaciones aquí localmente y tal vez incluso en todo el mundo. Nuestros profesionales de la salud escolar saben qué buscar en términos de síntomas, y estamos trabajando estrechamente con el Departamento de Salud de la Ciudad y con las familias para abordar las necesidades y preocupaciones.
Como con la mayoría de los temas de preocupación, creemos que la educación es una de las estrategias que debemos usar para combatir el temor. Sugerimos los siguientes enlaces para obtener más información sobre la enfermedad, qué reacción podemos tomar como Comunidad, o cómo prevenir o detener mejor su propagación y cómo ayudar a su hijo o hijos a comprender sobre este virus.
De la Mancomunidad de Massachusetts
Del Centro Unido para el Control y Prevención de Enfermedades
De National Public Radio (un cómic para ayudar a explicar el coronavirus a los niños y para ayudar a aliviar el miedo que los niños pueden sentir por esto)