Several cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the Watertown Public Schools community, and Superintendent Dede Galdston said officials are planning how to handle the return from winter vacation.
Details of what the plan is for the return to school have not been announced, but part of the Watertown School’s response will be a vaccination clinic in early January, according to a letter sent out by Galdston and Director of Student Services Kathleen Desmarais on Dec. 29.
“We believe that there is community transmission at this time, so we are currently considering options to maximize testing and safety upon our return after the break,” the letter reads.
Statewide, the Mass. Department of Public Health reported 15,163 new confirmed cases on Dec. 29. The positive test rate over the previous seven days was 13.58 percent. The state also reported 1,711 hospitalizations due to COVID, and 45 newly reported COVID deaths and the average age of was 75.
The number of cases in Watertown went from 195 confirmed cases over the two weeks between Dec. 5 and 18 (released on Dec. 23), and the number rose to 324 for the period of Dec. 12 to 25 (released on Dec. 30). The positive test rate went from 3.56 percent in the Dec. 23 report to 6.16 percent in the Dec. 30 report. The case rate in Watertown went from 42.2 cases per 100,000 residents in the Dec. 23 report to 70.1 per 100,000 in the Dec. 30 report.
A vaccination clinic is planned for students ages 5 to 11, where students over 16 can get a booster shot. The clinic will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 11, from 3:30-7:00 p.m. at the Watertown Middle School. Participants must sign-ups in advance — click here to register.
See the letter sent out by the Watertown Schools below:
Dear Watertown Public Schools community member,
Over the holiday weekend and today, we were informed of several additional positive cases of COVID within our school community. In some cases, the positive individual was present in school within 48 hours of developing symptoms, and close contacts were identified and notified directly in these instances. We believe that there is community transmission at this time, so we are currently considering options to maximize testing and safety upon our return after the break.
We understand that cases are rising throughout the Watertown community at large due to the more contagious Omicron variant, and encourage you to maintain social distancing as much as feasible, and to wear masks when indoors per the Watertown Health Department to stay as safe as possible. If you are looking for testing options over the break, please check here. With New Year’s Eve on Friday, we encourage you to consider minimizing risk by avoiding large crowds or gatherings in order to reduce the number of cases upon our return to school.
Please reach out to me this week to report a positive case or if you have any school-related COVID questions (your nurse and principal are on break), at 617-926-7766 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be holding a vaccination clinic on Tuesday, January 11, from 3:30-7:00 p.m. at the Watertown Middle School for 5- to 11-year-olds. Our students 16 and over can get a booster at this clinic as well. Advanced sign-ups are required — please use this link.
Ms. Kathleen Desmarais, Director of Student Services
Dr. Deanne Galdston, Superintendent