No Confirmed Cases in the District
WEST NEWBURY — Superintendent Justin Bartholomew would like to provide residents with the latest information regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as federal and state officials continue to monitor the virus internationally.
There are currently 92 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency on March 10. There are currently no confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Groveland, Merrimac or West Newbury at this time.
“We are having daily conversations with the health agents for the towns in the district to make sure we are all following the same protocols and procedures,” Superintendent Bartholomew said. “We’re continuing to monitor the situation and will continue to share information with the community as it becomes available.”
Pentucket District schools are open and functioning on their normal schedules.
Superintendent Bartholomew will be speaking with other Massachusetts superintendents and the Commissioner from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education tomorrow afternoon. Further updates and guidelines are expected at that time.
The School District Committee will be meeting Thursday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m. to further discuss additional steps to take.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) will be moving forward with its tournaments as well and has indicated that sporting events scheduled through March 15 will proceed as scheduled.
All local actions are being undertaken in accordance with the latest guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This includes CDC guidance for school administrators.
The COVID-19 situation is very fluid, and new information and guidelines are being posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on a regular basis. The CDC offers the following guidance for how COVID-19 spreads. The virus is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has determined that it will not count absenteeism from early March onward, and that school districts will not have to extend the school year beyond its planned end dates as a result of the coronavirus. Pentucket School District officials will continue to monitor the situation and proceed in a way that both minimizes the disruption to students’ learning while ensuring the wellness of the school community.
As always, if anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should not come to work or school and they are advised to contact their primary care physician.
The DPH recommends that residents continue with good hygiene practices including:
- Practice good hand hygiene! Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds including under your fingernails. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content) can be used when soap and water are not available.
- Keep your hands away from your face.
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing with a tissue and discard it immediately. Cough into the sleeve over your elbow instead of your hand. Wash your hands often when coughing and sneezing.
- Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.