MARLBOROUGH (CBS) – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker wants districts to hold off on making any drastic changes in their school plans if they are listed as a community at high risk for coronavirus. He says they should look at three weeks of data before making any decisions.
Baker’s suggestion came just after Marlborough switched their high school to remote learning after several students tested positive.
In a message to parents about the switch, Marlborough Schools Superintendent Michael Bergeron said, “our actions are grounded in strategy to get ahead of positive cases at the high school level and prevent further community spread at all the levels of our schools.”
Marlboro was in the high-risk red zone in the latest coronavirus numbers released Wednesday night, with 8.4 average daily incidence rate per 100,000 and a positivity rate 2.76%, in comparison to the state’s positivity rate of 0.8%.
“It was really kind of disappointing because it was really fun to get to see people again, even though we’re socially distanced, so it’s kind of disappointing that we have to go home,” said Andrew Desmarais, who’s a junior at Marlborough High School.
“It’s unfortunate, but they’re doing the right thing,” said Virginia Gehrig, whose son is a student in Marlborough.
“Getting kids back to the classroom obviously is something that we believe is critically important to our success and to our kids’ success going forward. And it’s very important for people and communities to get three weeks’ worth of data, which is four weeks’ worth of information before they make decisions about changing their plans with respect to schools,” Baker told reporters.
The President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, Merrie Najimy, said Governor Baker should back off the pressure to get kids back in school and lend more support to school districts. “He is narrowly focusing on one criteria. I think it’s a reactionary approach, and it undermines democratic decisions that have been made town by town,” she said.
Bergeron said he wants schools to stay open for in-person classes, but he needs the community’s help. He’s asking parents to talk to their kids about the importance of keeping a distance from others, wearing masks, and washing hands.
One Marlborough mom said she hopes it’s a wake-up call. “The sooner we get through this, the sooner it’ll be over, but if they keep doing things like having get-togethers and parties, we’re never going to get through this,” said DeAnna Collins