Schools to Provide Learning Opportunities During Coronavirus Closing, but Will Not be Business as Usual

Watertown Public School students will have chances to continue learning from home while the schools are closed for two weeks in an effort to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, but Superintendent Dede Galdston said it will not be considered part of the regular classes, nor impact grades. Students at Watertown High School have the Chromebooks, and efforts will be made to get the laptop computers to all Watertown Middle School students to use while they are out of school. Teachers are planning activities for the elementary school students, Galdston added. “Our intent is to keep learning alive, but it is not mandatory and not considered instruction,” Galdston said. “In order to provide equity in access, we are not allowed to provide remote learning as a replacement to in person education.”

Presumptive Case of Coronavirus in Watertown, Schools Shutting for 2 Weeks

The Watertown Health Department is investigating a case of Coronavirus in Watertown, and the Watertown Public Schools will be closed temporarily beginning Friday. ​The update on the Town of Watertown website reads:

We have been advised that there is a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Watertown. The case is not associated with the schools and has no children in the school system. The Health Department case investigation is ongoing and we will provide additional information tomorrow. Watertown Superintendent Dede Galdston confirmed that the Watertown Public Schools will be closed for two weeks beginning Friday.

Watertown Schools Postpones Trip & Events Due to Coronavirus, Plans for Possible Remote Learning

A Spring Break trip to Europe, a band performance, Mr. WHS and more Watertown Public Schools events have been postponed in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak in Massachusetts. On Wednesday, Superintendent Dede Galdston sent a letter updating the situation in the Watertown schools as the COVID-19 virus spreads in the area. This comes a day after Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts, and several area colleges announced that students would not be attending classes on campus for the rest of the academic year. In Watertown, a planned trip to Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic has been postponed. About 60 WHS students had signed up to participate.

Lowell PTO Walkathon Raises More Than $18,000

Students at Lowell Elementary School took to the obstacle house in the school gym for the second annual PTO Walkathon. The Lowell Elementary School PTO’s fundraiser brought in tons of money to help the school, and provided fun and prizes for the kids. Students got active and raised more than $18,600 during the second annual Walkathon, said Lowell PTO Co-President Lauren Coughlin Unsworth

“We decided to hold it on February 14th and call it the Happy Hearts Walkathon,” Coughlin Unsworth said. “We chose this date because we thought it would give us the opportunity to celebrate and promote kindness and get the kids moving in the middle of winter.” 

Lowell physical education teachers, Eileen Donahue and Tina Loguidice, created an obstacle course in the gym. “So, the kids were all smiles that they were doing more than just walking!,” Coghlin Unsworth said.

Alcohol, Drug Use Down Among Middle, High Schoolers, Vaping More Common Than Smoking

Watertown High School and Middle School students are drinking, smoking and doing drugs less than they have in previous years, according to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The study also looked at depression, suicide and bullying. Stephanie Sunderland-Ramsey, Program Coordinator of the group that organized the survey — Wayside Youth & Family Support Network — spoke to the School Committee on March 2. She believes the decrease is the result of efforts to education students and try to prevent them from using alcohol, tobacco and rugs. “We’ve existed on grant funding for the last 20 years, and so I would say it is prevention at work,” Sunderland Ramsey said.

Two Watertown Students Make Dean’s List at UMaine

The following information was provided by the University of Maine:

The University of Maine recognized 2,572 students for achieving Dean’s List honors in the fall 2019 semester. Of the students who made the Dean’s List, 1,754 are from Maine, 743 are from 30 other states and 75 are from 31 countries other than the U.S.

Listed below are students who received Dean’s List honors for fall 2019, completing 12 or more credit hours in the semester and earning a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Please note that some students have requested that their information not be released; therefore, their names are not included. Students from Watertown are: Yonas Butler and Sarah Tymm

Watertown School Staff Member Sent Home as Precautionary Measure Related to Coronavirus

A teacher from Watertown High School who had recently traveled abroad, was sent home as a precaution measure after the possibility of having been exposed to the COVID-19 “Coronavirus,” the Watertown Public Schools announced. Watertown Superintendent Dede Galdston said the measure was taken out to be cautious, and was in line with recommendations by local, state and federal health officials. She also talked about a planned WHS trip to Europe during spring break. School officials said there has not been a confirmed case of the Coronavirus in the Watertown Public Schools, however, there is a staff member who went home just in case the person was exposed to the virus. “I can confirm there are no known or suspected cases of Coronavirus in Watertown,” said Galdston, who said she could not comment specifically about the case, or even if the person had been tested, due to federal HIPAA regulations protecting people’s medical records.

Watertown High School’s New Principal Introduced, Has Local Ties

Watertown High School’s next principal, Joel Giacobozzi, right, shown with WHS students on the day he visited the school for his final interview in January. Watertown High School’s next principal has a wide breadth of educational experience, and also has ties to town. The School Committee formally met Joel Giacobozzi at Monday night’s meeting. Superintendent Dede Galdston picked Giacobozzi from the three finalists, who visited Watertown at the end of January. He currently serves as associate head master at Boston Latin, and previously was assistant principal at Scituate High School and took part in the principal internship program in the Boston Public Schools.