March 3, 2021

Covid-19 in Seekonk Schools

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There have been 41 positive cases of Covid-19 reported in Seekonk Schools. Half of those have been at Seekonk High School, Superintendent Rich Drolet said Monday.

Drolet said the school district would continue to remain operating under a hybrid model – two days of in-person instruction and two days of remote learning.

One staff member and five students at Aitken Elementary School had tested positive for Covid-19. Two staff members and four students tested positive for Covid-19 at Martin Elementary School. One staff member and seven students tested positive for Covid-19 at Hurley Middle School. At the high school, six staff and 15 students had tested positive.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), along with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, has provided school districts with a rolling 14-day metric to assist in setting transitions between learning models for the 2020-2021 school year. The guidelines are meant to supplement local decision-making policy by the School Committee and Board of Health. In order to qualify for in-person learning, there can be no more than four reported cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 with a state positivity rate of two percent.

Seekonk, which has been in the red zone for the past few weeks, reported 132 new cases of Covid-19 in the last two weeks. The town ranked 14th highest in the state for the average daily incidence rate per 100,000 residents. Seekonk’s rate was 59.1. “I do remain concerned with Seekonk’s (infection) rates,” Drolet said. “However, we have yet to find any evidence of transmission in our schools. But since Thanksgiving break when students returned last week, we’ve encountered 15 cases and we do expect many more positive cases in the these two weeks before the winter break.” Drolet explained the district would have to shift to full-remote learning if there was ever a cluster discovered in one of the schools. One or two schools could be shut down if that were to occur, he added.

The high school was shut down for a two-week period last month after positive cases were reported. “I think we’ve really done our job as a district,” said school committee chairperson Kim Sluter, noting the state’s guidelines have been followed. “We need the community to continue to do their job to keep the spread out of the schools.”

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