Blog - Williamstown, MA
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Updates for Friday March 20th

The Williamstown Council on Aging now has the capacity, limited at the moment, to shop for and deliver groceries to homebound or health compromised  elders. We have individuals who have indicated their willingness to volunteer to help with this and we will utilize staff resources as well including the van to deliver.

The process will be very simple. Individuals who need our help can contact us at 413.458.8250 and we’ll talk. It would be most convenient if we could  pick up a written list directly from participants to avoid misunderstanding. We will want to know what sorts of food you need and the quantities, i.e two loaves of bread, one dozen eggs, etc. We’ll take your list and shop. As a matter of logical convenience we’ll be utilizing our local North Adams Stop and Shop. 

We’re happy to purchase items we can, however,  given the current state of affairs with COVID-19, some items may be out of stock. You’ll have to decide whether a substitute item is acceptable whether it be a different brand or size of item. Initially we won’t be thinking about utilizing coupons, it adds unnecessary time to the process. We’d also appreciate it if you have your own shopping bags, pandemic or not, we don’t want to flood the world with more plastic. 

We’ll be asking you questions about  exposure to the Coronavirus. Be honest.  We won’t expose our staff or volunteers to this infection however, we might be able to leave food outside the door  to retrieve after we have cleared the location.

We won’t be able to retrieve medications for you either. Sorry.

You can give us a signed check and your Stop and Shop card to pay for your order, we’ll fill in the amount and you’ll have a receipt to verify what we bought. You’ll get the purchase points! This will be a weekly effort while the pandemic lasts so don’t feel that you have to buy for an entire army…

Of course, if you want to go yourself, our van will bring you as usual. This all sounds contradictory but some disabled individuals who can’t carry groceries like going to the store to pick out items.

Speaking of the van, we’ll be going to the senior only shopping hours (6AM-7:30 AM) at Stop and Shop on Tuesday and Thursday mornings -they’re opening at 6 AM to accommodate elders shopping and we’ll bring people without transport over. Call us by 2:00 in the afternoon Monday and Wednesday if you’re planning on going along with us.

Questions? Call 413.458.8250 or email; bogrady@williamstownma.gov

Now for those folks who prefer Big Y, they have the Instacart Delivery Service we spoke about the other day. Participants order groceries online and have them delivered directly to the home. Enroll in the program and choose items from the sale flyer, place orders at www.instacart.com/big-y  The phone number there is 413.663.6549. And don’t forget the curbside  pickup option at Wild oats Community Markets. order@wildoats.coop is the address there.  Both of these programs have service fees. The phone number at Wild Oats is 413.458.8060.

While we’re on the topic of delivery, remember that two local pharmacies-the Berkshire Community Pharmacy in North Adams, 413.664.5333 and Williamstown Walgreen, 413. 458.2138, deliver medications to the homes of their customers- Berkshire Community delivers directly and Walgreens via FedEx.

Finally, for those of you who regularly contribute to our food collection for the St. Patrick/Raphael Food Pantry, unfortunately at this moment we’re not open to receive your donation but please leave them at the vestibule in the Parish Hall next to the church on Southworth Street.

That’s it for this week, we’ll be back on Monday. In the meanwhile, have a great weekend everyone!

From the Council on Aging

Big Y Supermarkets have a program called “Instacart” where participants can order groceries online and have them delivered directly to the home. Participants sign up at www.instacart.com/big-y Choose items from the weekly Big Y Sales Flyer and submit your order. An instacart shopper assembles the order and delivers it. There are delivery charges. Additionally the weekly in store deals, coupons, etc won’t be honored-it’s all done without using a Big Y card.

The number to our local North Adams Big Y is 413.663.6549, call them with specific questions.

Wild Oats Community Markets have initiated a new service called “Curbside PickUp”.

This is also an online based order program, order@wildoats.coop is the address.

They’re asking you to include your phone number in your message with your list of items. They’ll need that to process your order and communicate with you at pick up time. Credit Card orders must be processed by telephone and they’ll ask you for billing information when they call to let you know that your order is ready. Essentially, order online, they will assemble the order and call you when ready, you go and pick it up, they’ll bring it to your car. This saves you from having to go into the market yourself.  There is a $5 fee to make this happen. Wild Oats main store number is; 413.458.8060. Call them for information.

Two local pharmacies are able to deliver medications to individual homes. Walgreens here in Williamstown uses FedEx to deliver, usually within 24 hours of receiving a prescription and they say that they send orders out twice daily. The number there is 413.458.2138

The Berkshire Community Pharmacy housed in the lobby of the former hospital also delivers medications. You can reach them at 413.664.5333

Starting 3/19, we are temporarily suspending the requirement to use Town trash bags when bringing trash to the Transfer Station. This is valid only for users who currently hold a Williamstown Transfer Station sticker.

We are doing this as a means of reducing the need for unnecessary contact to purchase bags either from Town Hall or other retailers that sell them.

Please note that this relief is intended only for material that would have otherwise gone into a Town trash bag – please continue to reduce and recycle as much as possible.

The Mount Greylock Regional School District  is making a free “Grab and Go” option available for ANYONE IN WILLIAMSTOWN who may need the service at the Williamstown Elementary School for the next three weeks between 9:30 and 10:30 daily. It’s essentially take out, you call them, they’ll prepare the lunch. The meal itself is basically a sandwich, fruit cup, etc. Individuals who are unable to consume cold cuts due to dietary or religious restrictions. You are able to request substitutions when requesting a meal.

The procedure to follow for these meals is;

Call or email the food service department THE DAY BEFORE using the following:

Phone 413.458.9582×1195

Email: lunches@mgrhs.org

Leave a message indicating the number of lunches you need.

You’ll need to leave your name and in order to assist in the planning and preparation, please indicate whether you’ll be accessing the meal over the remaining days-it’s currently slated to end April 6th.

Meals can be picked up at the school’s main entrance on Church Street.

If you need delivery, please note that in your message.

The Spring routine of mailing the 2nd installment of the Real Estate and Personal Property tax bills was well underway prior to the changes impacting our community due to the Covid-19 response.We recognize that this is not an ideal time for some to be receiving these bills given the current uncertainty. While the Town is in a strong financial position, we cannot operate and meet the obligations of funding our schools and Town without sending these bills twice a year. Now, more than ever, we are aware that unforeseen circumstances and hardships can make it challenging to meet these obligations.Should you foresee having difficulty in your ability to make your payment, please contact me to work out an arrangement that may help alleviate the pressures of meeting the deadline. I am happy to work with you to find an approach that can help. It is important, though, that we actually have a conversation prior to the eventual due date. While it is always more pleasant to have these conversations in person, email and telephone are our healthiest options in the near future.

Kind Regards,  

Rachel Vadnais

Treasurer/Collector

Town of Williamstown

31 North St.Williamstown, MA  01267

413-458-9342

rvadnais@williamstownma.gov

News of note from Council on Aging; March 17, 2020.

Happy St. Pats!

Our friends at Stop and Shop recognize that this Coronavirus outbreak has the potential to be very problematic to the senior population. In response to the current situation, they have changed their operational systems starting this week on Thursday to accommodate our older friends and neighbors.

Beginning Thursday March 19th, every Stop and Shop store will be open earlier in order to service customers who are aged 60 and older from 6:00 to 7:30 AM daily. They have made this decision to allow elders the opportunity to shop in a less crowded environment, effectively allowing the process of social distancing to be used. It’s also a time before anyone else enters the building.

 There will be a designated entrance, it will be identified as the door to use for this early  shopping option. In North Adams, the designated entry will be the door on the produce side of the building, or, if you will, the front door on the left.  They will not be checking identification at the door but they ask that the reason for the early opening be respected. Stop and Shop staff do reserve the right to ask anyone who is obviously not an elder to leave the store.

To assist in the facilitation of this process, the Williamstown COA van will be able to bring people to the North Adams Stop and Shop on Tuesday and Thursday weekly starting March 24th and continuing at least until the week of April 6th. Contact the Harper Center at 458.8250 at least before 2:00 PM on the preceding Monday and Wednesday to advise us of your interest.

Additionally, the Mount Greylock Regional School District  is making a “Grab and Go” option available for elders at the Williamstown Elementary School for the next three weeks between 9:30 and 10:30 daily. It’s essentially take out, you call them, they’ll prepare the lunch. The meal itself is basically a sandwich, fruit cup, etc. Individuals who are unable to consume cold cuts due to sodium content are able to request substitutions likely egg salad or something similar.

The procedure to follow for these meals is;

Call or email the food service department THE DAY BEFORE using the following:

Phone 413.458.9582×1195

Email: lunches@mgrhs.org

Leave a message indicating the number of lunches you need.

You’ll need to leave your name and in order to assist in the planning and preparation, please indicate whether you’ll be accessing the meal over the remaining days-it’s currently slated to end April 6th.

Meals can be picked up at the school’s main entrance on Church Street.

Additional food resources as of today, March 17, 2020  include the following;

The Al Nelson Food Pantry in North Adams and the Williamstown Food Pantry at St Patrick/St. Raphael Church are both still open but with different operating strategies to help minimize the risk of Coronavirus exposure. Wednesday March 18th.

The Berkshire Food Project is open M-W-F currently, usual time for them, 12:00-1:00. There will be two meals prepared on Mondays and Wednesdays for take out on Tuesday and Thursday. You can find these take away meals in the breezeway, no access to the building will happen on Tuesday or Thursday.

The Community Bible Church is open this Wednesday, March 18 from 12-2:00. For emergency food needs call the church at 458.5556 or Phyllis Babcock at 663.6094

The FoodBank of Western Massachusetts Mobile Food Pantries are still operating, 10-11:00 in Adams on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday and 10-11:00 in North Adams, 1st and 3rd Fridays. The monthly Brown Bag delivery is cancelled at least for March.

Elder Services Meals on Wheels are still operating and being delivered as usual.

The North Adams Baptist Church will offer take out meals on Saturday March 28th, 11-12:00 only.

Finally, the Salvation Army Food Pantry, they’re in North Adams, operates Tuesday afternoons from 12:30 to 3:00. Receive food at the front door. 

That’s it for today folks. Stay safe out there!

March 16, 2020

Dear Mount Greylock Regional School District Community,

We are writing to give the community an update on the status of our closure and available resources and to remind families about accessing meals over the next three weeks. As was mentioned in the call and letter on Friday, the Mount Greylock Regional School District will remain closed until March 30, 2020. Based on the Governor’s decision last night, we will extend that period and remain closed until Tuesday, April 7. 2020. This decision was made in an effort to limit any potential exposure of our students and staff to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.

The community recognizes that our families may be challenged to provide nutritious meals for their children during this unexpected time away from school. As such, the Mount Greylock Regional School District will be offering access to grab-and-go lunches Monday through Friday for the next three weeks. Meals will be available for pick-up at the Lanesborough Elementary School and Williamstown Elementary School main entrances between 9:30 and 10:30 each day.  In an attempt to assist the district in planning, you are asked to:

Call or email the food service department the day before using the following:

  • Phone: (413) 458-9582 x1195
  • Email: lunches@mgrhs.org
  • Leave a message that includes the number of lunches you need and which school will be your pick-up location: Lanesborough Elementary School or Williamstown Elementary School 
  • Please identify the student name(s) for whom you are picking up meals.
  • In order to assist us in advance planning, please indicate whether you will be accessing this meal service over the remaining days.

It is our sincere desire to help students feel connected to school and intellectually engaged during the closure, and the Department of Education is expecting schools to provide enrichment resources for students as a means of staying connected with school. However, distance learning programs are not being recognized by DESE as formal time on learning, and to that end schools are not being asked to replicate a regular school day nor course content. As a district, we will provide resources that can be used independently. When able, students may find teachers communicating with families directly about extension activities as well. Please note that these learning experiences are not mandatory and are not credit bearing. However, we encourage students to participate as a way of keeping themselves intellectually engaged. 

If your child currently receives special education services, you will be receiving outreach from the Acting Director of Pupil Services, Patrick Priester, in the coming days. Many of the educational links we have provided will help your child maintain skills during the closure. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Mr. Priester at ppriester@mgrhs.org.

Regarding spring season athletics, please know that the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has delayed the start of the season to a date to be determined this afternoon. As such, there will be no tryouts for athletic teams until that date. Should this change, you will be notified by Lindsey von Holtz, Director of Athletics and Co-Curriculars.

In closing, these are unprecedented times, and this drastic step is meant to provide reduced exposure for students, staff members, and their families. Please continue doing the recommended actions for maintaining health such as frequent hand washing, social distancing, rest, hydration, exercise and good nutrition. We would like to thank everyone in advance for their anticipated cooperation and understanding as we navigate this challenge. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

We appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience during this difficult time. If you have any further questions or concerns please contact Superintendent Kimberley Grady (413) 652-5767. 

Click here to review district Frequently Asked Questions or visit the Coronavirus page on the district website at https://www.wlschools.org/page.cfm?p=1137.

Sincerely,

Kimberley Grady, Superintendent

Andrea Wadsworth, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance

Robert Wnuk, Director of Operations

Eileen Belastock, Director of Academic Technology

Patrick Priester, Acting Director of Pupil Services

Mary MacDonald, Principal

Jacob N. Schutz, Asst. Principal

Joelle Brookner, Principal

Elea Kaatz, Asst. Principal

Nolan Pratt, Principal 

Tim Sears, Director of Building and Ground

Tammy Jennings, Food Service Director