Gill-Montague goes remote after positive COVID test

  • Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 11/16/2020 5:36:55 PM

MONTAGUE — The Gill-Montague Regional School District has switched to fully remote classes after a person in the district tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Classes will remain remote at least through the end of this week. School Superintendent Brian Beck said that more information on moving to hybrid classes should be available by that time.

Gill-Montague started the school year this fall with only remote classes. Since October, the district's administration has been working to gradually transition small groups of students to a hybrid model in which students are physically at school two days a week.

Until last week, 16 students in the district were in hybrid classes, and there were tentative plans for a second phase that would transition about 25 more to hybrid. A timetable for bringing the full student population to hybrid classes has not been discussed publicly.

Late Friday night, school families and staff were alerted in an email from Superintendent Beck that someone in the district had tested positive for COVID-19, and that the schools were responding according to predetermined protocols.

The email did not say who had tested positive, or even whether it was a student, staff member or other community member. However, it noted that the schools had alerted families of students and staff members who may have come into contact with this person.

Areas in the schools that may have surface exposure to the coronavirus were identified by facilities personnel, and were scheduled to be cleaned and disinfected.

The switch to remote classes was decided at the recommendation of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Beck said in the email.

Since the start of the school year, Beck and the School Committee have maintained that progress toward hybrid or in-person instruction could be reversed if the local public health situation were to worsen.

It is not known yet how this change may affect the outlook on moving to hybrid classes. The most recent School Committee meeting was last Tuesday — three days before the email announcement. At that time, Beck had said that the schools were aiming to open hybrid classes to the second phase of students during the week of Nov. 16.

Beck could not be reached for further comment Monday.

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.


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