The Natick Public School system has readied its community for possible changes its current hybrid education model in light of rising COVID-19 cases in town and beyond. Natick’s average cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days has risen to almost 35, and has grown for seven straight weeks.
In her Jan. 8 message to families, Supt. Anna Nolin wrote:
I want to focus on our COVID update. Below you will see a dramatic rise in cases. Most of the cases were identified prior to students attending school, so there is not a large number of close contacts or students tapped out due to the infections. While we have not yet experienced in-school transmission in classes, we did have a case in our hockey team and in the parent community around this program. In addition, Brookline, Milton and Wellesley all curtailed their hockey programs due to sickness. We have paused our program for two -weeks. While Mr. White indicated today we are still in the “yellow” we are heading for red. Red designation for three weeks or that in combination with many other metrics meeting met on our dashboard may result in remote learning in some of our schools or all of our schools if the surge continues. On Monday, the board of health will share that they will now add in-school transmission, absentee rates to the already selected metrics and the color dashboard from the state into decision-making. I will share a more in-depth health update at our school committee meeting Monday. Please know that our daily review of the situation with the health department continues, and I would like families to prepare for the possible need to move to remote learning for a period of two weeks at a minimum. [Note: we’ve added the two links in this excerpt.]
Nearby, the Wellesley Public Schools system has already informed the community that the high school will go all-remote this week in light of rising cases.
A community meeting in Natick on updates to the hybrid and remote education models will offered Wednesday night. Teachers are also being asked to speak with students about the possibility of switching to remote and preparing technology for that possibility.