Covid-19 Cases Prompt Seekonk Schools Closure
Seekonk Public Schools will be closed from January 4 through 8 due to an increase in reported Covid-19 infections. Superintendent Rich Drolet reported there had been 64 positive cases in the schools since the first case was reported on October 25.
The schools will reopen on January 12 under a hybrid model. Students will learn remotely for the first week of the month.
“I wholeheartedly believe it’s in the best interest of students, staff, and all of us to have our schools open because it’s kind of almost the last resort at this point,” Drolet said at Monday’s school committee meeting. “We’ve kind of reached the tipping point. I do feel that our schools are still safe. We will be looking at the data over the break and if we had to extend (the closure), an announcement would be made well in advance but we hope not to have to do that.”
Seekonk has been given the designation of red, which is reserved for cities and towns with the highest average of new infections.
According to data released by the Massachusetts Department of Health, for the two week testing period which concluded on December 17, Seekonk reported 182 new cases. The daily average is 84.01 per 100,000 residents.
The daily positivity rate was 13.94 percent.
“I’m nervous that once we go remote, we’re not coming back,” said Committee Chair Kim Sluter. “We’ve been steadfast as a community and we get a lot of feedback from families, more feedback about staying open than we do about closing.”
Vice Chair Beth Eklund didn’t think determining whether or not schools should be open by relying on the data on a week to week basis was “fair to the families” or the teachers.
“I’m just concerned that we didn’t see any decrease (in the positivity rates) when the high school went hybrid for two weeks,” Eklund noted.
Committee member Sona Schiller urged families to do what they could to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“Please be careful and please be safe so that we can open the schools again,” Schiller added.