March 11, 2020 --
As the implications related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continue to evolve, I want to share with you the most recent information available to us and update you on our local response. There are currently 92 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). There are no confirmed or presumptive cases of the virus in Medfield at this time and the risk in Massachusetts remains "low." Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency yesterday that is effective immediately. This declaration allows the Governor the flexibility to take state-wide action to address issues associated with COVID-19 cases. The state of emergency has no immediate effects on the day-to-day operations of the Medfield Public Schools.
We continue to implement our enhanced cleaning practices. All of our schools were disinfected over the weekend and this will be a continuous practice each evening until further notice. This process involves disinfecting all desks, surfaces, and areas that are in constant human contact. In addition, our busses are being disinfected twice each day.
Our decisions are in accordance with the latest guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In recent weeks Medfield Public Schools personnel have been in communication with these agencies and we continue to collaborate with the Medfield Board of Health, Town Administrator, town officials, school physician, other school districts and state associations.
DESE has issued two important advisories that could impact some of our operations moving forward for the next few weeks:
- Districts are urged to cancel any out-of-state travel that they have planned. This guidance is for the next 30 days and involves overnight trips, not daily field trips. We will be discussing this with overnight trip planners and decisions will be communicated as soon as possible. We will evaluate the safety of a daily field trip based on the planned activity and/or the location of the trip. It would be premature to make a decision on the Blake MS annual trip to Washington DC that occurs in late May.
- Districts are asked to encourage older community members and those at increased risk of illness to avoid large school gatherings. As of today, the Winter Carnival is the only school-related event or activity that has been canceled. Please note that this could change at any time. Unless there is specific guidance or recommendations from local or state officials, we will continue to make decisions on a case by case basis. We encourage all families to make their own decisions when it comes to attending school-related events.
Lastly, we are currently developing an education plan to prepare for all possible impacts on teaching and learning within our schools, including short and long-term closures. Preparations include the creation of an online repository of digital and non-digital resources that are both meaningful and appropriate for our students. We hope that we will not have to utilize this plan, but we want it in place if it is needed.
Thank you again for your ongoing support as we remain committed to the health and safety of our students and staff.
Jeffrey J. Marsden