Watertown Moves into Yellow for COVID Cases as Schools Looking at Reopening

The state’s COVID-19 Community Level Reporting map showing Watertown in yellow, or moderate risk for the spread of the virus. Previously Watertown had been green, or lower risk. 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.

LETTER: Former Teacher Concerned with Health of Schools During COVID-19

Editor,

The Watertown Public Schools have had unsafe buildings for years. The school Administration and Town officials since spring of 2017 have denied, deflected, or ignored-the concerns of Watertown parents, faculty and students. The goal of creating safe buildings has been our petitioners goal from the start. Please read our petition to learn more about W.P.S. building conditions and the years of asbestos compliance violations. https://www.change.org/p/mark-sideris-asbestos-and-other-dangers-in-the-watertown-public-schools

I’d add that our petition group thinks all of this takes on a more immediate importance given the short-term latency effects of the COVID-19 virus.

Height of New High School Concerns Neighbors, Residents Want Parking for Senior Center

One of the options for how Watertown High School may sit on the current site, on the left, and across the street where now the Phillips Building and the Senior Center sit. The architect said the illustration is for massing, and not the design of the buildings. Residents who saw the latest proposal for the new Watertown High School were put-off by the size of the academic building that would be built on the site of the Phillips School and Senior Center, under the currently scenario currently favored by the School Building Committee. The plans were presented during the fourth Community Forum for the WHS project, held virtually on Oct. 8.

Gala Raising Money for Group that Helps Families 11 Communities, Including Watertown

Communities United, Inc. (CUI), a non-profit organization that provides high-quality education and family services throughout eleven MetroWest cities and towns, announced today that its 5th annual gala fundraiser – ‘Back on Track: Funding our Children’s Futures’ – will take place virtually this year on Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.

The gala is free to attend and open to the public.Teachers and staff from CUI will be speaking on the daily challenges they face as they prepare to teach in the new age of COVID-19. WCVB-TV Channel 5, Boston’s news and community leader, serves as the exclusive media partner and News Center 5 Anchor Ed Harding will emcee. There will also be a special guest performance by Emmy Award-winning singer and songwriter Rachel Platten who will sing her hit, ‘Fight Song.’

During the approximately forty-five-minute-long virtual event, members of CUI will share with viewers the amazing and innovative ways they supported children and families such as sending home the book of week with activities each week and what life is like for their teachers and staff during this challenging time. They will also ask for donations to help purchase supplies suitable for maintaining social distancing guidelines that will keep the teachers and students safe and in class. Sponsorship opportunities for the virtual gala are still available as well. 

“This year presents a different challenge for CUI with the many restrictions of COVID-19, but I am confident that our teachers and staff will make this school year our most effective one to date,” said Terri Natale, Executive Director at Communities United, Inc. “Our teachers rose to the challenge with innovative solutions when we had to close mid-March, and we want to equip them with the necessary funds and resources as they prepare for what will most likely be a challenging school year, as home distance learning will be the primary mode of education for nearly half of our children.”

Communities United, Inc. provides educational programs and family services to families within the local community. The team is made up of 80 employees including teachers, social workers and administrators.

Designs for New High School Discussed, Community Forum Being Held Thursday

One of the options for how Watertown High School may sit on the current site, on the left, and across the street where now the Phillips Building and the Senior Center sit. The architect said the illustration is for massing, and not the design of the buildings. Questions about the impact of a four story high school, and parking at the new Watertown High School arose at Wednesday’s School Building Committee meeting. Designers of the new high school showed more detailed ideas of how the new school could be constructed on the current site during the online meeting. The planned Watertown High School project will be discussed at a virtual Community Forum on Thursday, Oct.

School Officials Hold to Hybrid Start Date for Elementary Schools, Looking at Moving Date for WMS, WHS

Lowell School in Watertown. After hearing from several parents anxious to see the Watertown Public Schools open for in-person learning as soon as possible, the School Committee did not adjust the Oct. 27 reopening date for elementary schools. However, they will look into moving up the date for middle and high school students from late November. Monday night, about a dozen people spoke during public forum during the virtual School Committee meeting.

Parent Starts Petition Asking Schools to Move to Hybrid Earlier

A screenshot of the parent petition asking for the Watertown Schools to reopen earlier. The Watertown Public Schools will not be moving to a hybrid model with a mix of in-person and remote learning, until Oct. 26 at the earliest, but a Hosmer Elementary School parent has started a petition asking officials to reconsider. The decision to start the year remotely, and move to hybrid later in the fall, was made in August. School officials have been under pressure from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to open earlier because COVID-19 rates put the Town into the lower-risk category (green) in the state’s Community Level COVID Data Reporting system.

Watertown Schools Respond to State Letter; Gov. Relaxing Restrictions

Watertown School officials responded to the letter from state education officials asking them to reopen the schools to in-person learning, saying the Town’s school will remain on their schedule to have students return to elementary schools in late October and to secondary schools in November. Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker announced the relaxing of some of the state’s COVID-19 rules. Last week, the Watertown Schools, and 15 other districts, received a letter from Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley strongly urging the schools to return to in-person learning because the communities have low rates of Coronavirus infections. Watertown remains a “green” community, meaning it is at lower risk of COVID-19 spread. The latest weekly statistics released by the State, as of Sept.