Learn About Putting on a Wedding During the Pandemic

Watertown’s Commander’s Mansion will show people how they can hold a wedding during COVID-19 at “Gossip!” The event will be held Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person, and include “nibbles and sips.” The Commander’s Mansion sent out the following information:

You will walk through a micro wedding at the Commander’s Mansion as if you were a guest. Experience all the components of a wedding day — ceremony, cocktails and reception — and hear from industry professionals along the way.

Second Round of Microenterprise Grants Available for Watertown Businesses

A lot of money was raised and spent on the 2015 Watertown Election. Companies with five or fewer employees can still take advantage of the microenterprise grants that were adversely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. A second round of grants has been announced by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC). Applications will be accepted from Oct. 2 to Oct.

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.

LETTER: Watertown Teachers Union Responds to State’s Letter on Starting In-Person Classes

The Watertown Educators Association supports the School Committee and Superintendent Deanne Galdston in their decision to begin the school year with a robust remote learning plan and a strategic return to in-person learning using sensible health and safety protocols. Educators are dismayed by Commissioner Jeff Riley and Governor Charlie Baker’s threatening directive to recklessly force students and educators back into school buildings. How the school year unfolds is a local decision arrived at democratically, and stakeholders in the community have made clear that beginning with remote learning is the best way to meet the needs of students while preventing the spread of COVID-19 to our students, our school staff, and the community. https://www.watertownmanews.com/2020/09/22/watertown-among-districts-encouraged-by-state-to-return-to-in-person-learning/

Educators want nothing more than to be back in classrooms with their students. However, the risk of COVID-19 makes that impossible, and is particularly concerning in Watertown where school buildings present health and safety issues to address before a physical return makes sense.

Purchase of New Ambulance Approved, Number of Calls Increasing

The Watertown Fire Department will be getting a new ambulance, which will help with the increasing numbers of medical calls to which paramedics respond. On Tuesday night, the Town Council unanimously approved the borrowing of $355,00 to pay for the purchase of a new ambulance. It will be paid off over five years with a total expected cost, including interest, of $402,925. The current ambulance, a 2016 GMC, has about 42,000 miles on it and will be kept as in reserve after the new one is delivered, said Fire Chief Bob Quinn. He said there is a lead time of about 8 months after ordering an ambulance.

Watertown Among Districts Encouraged by State to Return to In-Person Learning

The Watertown Public Schools welcomed students back Tuesday with classes being taught remotely via computer. On Monday, the Massachusetts education officials sent a letter to Watertown and other districts running virtual classes asking when they will start running in-person classes. The letter, sent by Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Jeffrey Riley, asked 16 school districts where the rate of COVID-19 infections are low, to return to in-person learning. Belmont was one of the other districts to receive the letter from the state. State officials said that DESE only recommended remote learning for communities with high risk of COVID-19 infection.

Many Changes in Store for WHS Sports During COVID-19

Watertown High School’s field hockey team, and other sports, will soon start their fall season, but with several changes due to COVID-19. Weekend games, reduced schedules and very limited fans — these are just some of the changes in store for Watertown High School athletes this fall. Last week, the School Committee approved the plans for holding high school sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most Watertown High School fall sports teams will be getting ready for their season to begin in late September. Outdoor sports, except for football, will compete this fall.

Face Covering Requirement Relaxed by Watertown Board of Health

Watertown had one of the strictest face covering requirements in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, but on Wednesday the Board of Health voted to bring Watertown’s rules in line with those set by Massachusetts officials. The main difference between Watertown’s rules and the state’s was that people over age 5 had to wear face coverings everywhere in public, inside and out, in Watertown. The state guidelines have a face covering requirement when outside only when you cannot stay 6 feet or farther apart. People violating Watertown’s order face a possible fine of $300. Along with changing when face coverings must be worn, the amendment also makes the first violation punishable by a warning, and the second violation could result in a $300 fine.