The rate of infection in Watertown has risen into the moderate risk (yellow) category in the state’s COVID-19 Community Level reporting. On Monday, the School Committee will be discussing whether to open the Watertown Public Schools for hybrid learning.
Watertown’s infection rate is 4.5 per 100,000 residents, according to the state’s Community Level COVID-19 Reporting map. The town has had 21 new cases over the past two weeks, and has 471 cases total, according to the state’s website.
Superintendent Dede Galdston said that the School Committee will be discussing the COVID rates on Monday, but said it does not necessarily mean Watertown will not be starting hybrid for the elementary schools on Oct. 27, as the Bridge to Hybrid calls for.
“The state recommends waiting for three straight weeks with a designation before making a decision in any direction,” Galdston said Thursday. “We have been green for several weeks, so the move into yellow is week one for any kind of reconsideration. Additionally, yellow signals that districts should consider being in a hybrid or remote, depending on local circumstances.”
In the plan, the Middle and High Schools would open for hybrid no earlier than Nov. 30, but at the last meeting School Committee members indicated they may want to move that date up.
At previous School Committee meetings, Galdston said that other considerations will be the positive testing rates in Watertown, and the rates in surrounding towns and in Middlesex County.
Watertown’s positive test rate is 0.70 percent, and Galdston said at a meting in September that under 5 percent is considered good. Belmont, Cambridge and Newton are green (lower-risk), but Waltham and Boston are red (higher risk).
The School Committee will meet Monday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. and a vote on moving to hybrid is on the agenda.
The public can participate on Zoom (link: https://bit.ly/34S1YtL), or questions can be texted to 617-581-7037. The meeting will be broadcast by Watertown Cable Access’ Education Channel (Channel 8 Comcast and Channel 15 RCN) or online at https://wcatv.org/