CA: School Committee on Covid outbreak

This week, the Southborough School Committee heard from the administration on a recent Covid outbreak in an elementary school and the district’s response. The Community Advocate covered the discussion.

I’m sharing highlights, but first, I’m also sharing the updated stats out of the school. As of the reports covering yesterday, there have been 20 cases across the Northborough-Southborough schools in just over a week. From November 3 – 11, 51 cases were reported. 41 of those were students/staff of Southborough K-8 schools.

Here’s my updated chart reflecting the latest Dashboard and Daily Counts:

Nov 11 - New cases in NSBORO schools by week
(click to enlarge)

So far, reports have identified 17 possible in school transmissions in Southborough K-8 schools and another 4 probable. 3 of those probable cases were in the last two weeks. Now here are highlights from the CA’s coverage of the related discussion at Wednesday night’s meeting.

The CA reported that the Medical Advisory Team has revised its protocols based on the incident. From now on:

if more than one of the close contacts tests positive on the first day of test and stay, the whole class will be considered close contacts and tested. In those cases, students will be spaced six feet apart, masks will be strictly enforced and group work will be limited.

Other highlights from the article:

An “outbreak” of COVID-19 recently prompted 32 individual cases in fifth grade classes at Margaret A. Neary School over two weeks, Southborough Public Schools officials said during a Nov. 8 School Committee meeting.

Superintendent Greg Martineau said it was the first significant cluster of cases in the district since the start of the pandemic. . .

The district’s Medical Advisory Team reviewed the data and came up with a plan on Oct. 31. That included providing an extra pool testing session for all fifth graders on Nov. 1, moving desks in rows three feet apart and separating seats in lunch rooms by six feet. The plan also called to review protocols with staff and students. . .

[Director of Wellness Mary Ellen Duggan said] reported a total of 11 cases of possible in-school transmission and three cases of probable in-school transmission. 

“A lot of the students were symptomatic and at school,” she said. “We just really need to send home that message that it’s really important, even with mild symptoms to stay home.”

For a majority of the students, their main symptom was a headache. She said others said their eyes stung and hurt. . . 

“Snack and lunch were the two areas where we really, I think, identified where we think most of the concern was,” Martineau said.

It was a “perfect storm,” Duggan said, because snack is held outside when the weather is nice. When it rains, though, as it did frequently during this surge, both snack and recess time takes place inside. 

Masking remains an important mitigation measure, Martineau said.

Click here for more details in the full story.

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1 year ago

This situation has not been communicated accurately nor in a timely way by the district and school. The district dashboard (today, 11-12-21) is only reporting 28 total cases at Neary this year whereas the CA article is stating 32 cases from the outbreak. Which is it? Details matter. The communications to parents about this were not timely and did not match the CA article in other ways as well. There has not been accountability here for the district and school administrators on this situation. There was a lot of in-school transmission. That is a fact, and it is a concerning one.

Tim Martel
1 year ago

Worcester County:
7-day Avg for Covid deaths = exactly 1 person.

When will the community be ready to start treating this disease the same way we have historically treated influenza? Get the vaccine, stop the fear, go about your life.

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