Officials Limit Public Access to Municipal Buildings and Offer Volunteer Opportunities to Support Senior and High Risk Residents
STONEHAM — Emergency Management Director and Fire Chief Matthew Grafton, Health Agent John Fralick and Chief of Police James McIntyre wish to provide the residents of Stoneham with new information regarding the town’s response to the novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 illness. The virus has moved the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare it a global pandemic. President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency and Governor Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts.
As of Monday, March 16, there are currently no confirmed or presumptive cases of the virus in Stoneham.
“There are three simple things you can do as a resident of Stoneham to help slow down the spread of this dangerous illness,” Emergency Management Director Matthew Grafton said. “Practicing social distancing, washing your hands, and calling your healthcare provider if you believe you may have symptoms of the virus.”
Additionally, town officials want residents to be aware that they can call 2-1-1 to reach the Massachusetts Department of Public Health with any questions relating to COVID-19. The hotline is available 24/7 and provides information, resources and referrals in multiple languages.
Local departments are additionally limiting public access to municipal buildings as a preventative measure to limit the possibility for exposure to COVID-19 for both the public and town staff.
Police and Fire Departments
Residents should be aware that police, fire, and inspection service members have all been instructed to maintain a social distance of six feet between individuals when responding to a call and avoid all unnecessary personal contact. The Police and Fire Departments are working with dispatchers and ambulance staff to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19, and dispatchers will ask residents to answer specific questions to help identify possible cases of COVID-19 so that first responders can take appropriate steps to stay healthy.
The Stoneham Police Department remains open, but residents are asked to call the department for any matter that does not necessitate a visit to the building at their business line at 781-438-1215. If residents must visit the building, Chief McIntyre asks that residents avoid crowding in the lobby and only enter if there is sufficient space for social distancing.
The Stoneham Fire Department suspended walk-in services temporarily on Monday to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, the illness associated with the novel coronavirus, to staff and the public. Residents seeking non-emergency services are encouraged to call the Stoneham Fire Department’s business line at 781-438-0127.
As always, please call 911 for any emergency. Both Departments will continue to respond as normal.
Stoneham Town Hall will only be open by appointment beginning on Tuesday, March 17, and appointments can be made Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Town Hall officials encourage residents to utilize the Town Hall website as much as possible, as there are many forms and transactions that can be completed online. Residents who need to schedule an in-person meeting with Town staff can contact staff at (781) 279-2600 to set up an appointment before travelling to Town Hall.
The Stoneham Recreation Department has postponed all town-sponsored recreational programming until Monday, April 6, 2020. All permitted uses of the town-owned athletic fields, playgrounds and recreation facilities, will also be suspended until Monday, April 6, 2020.. Recreation Department services will be available at Town Hall on an “appointment only” basis and any recreation or athletic field related inquiries are encouraged to submitted via email to [email protected] beginning on March 17, 2020.
Effective immediately, Recreation Director Steve Angelo will be serving as the Director of Volunteer Fulfillment for the Town of Stoneham until further notice. Any individual or group who wish to volunteer or contribute toward assisting our at-risk and most vulnerable community members are encouraged to reach out to the Recreation Office at 781-279-2609 or [email protected]. A brief questionnaire will be distributed to all interested volunteers to help to coordinate schedules and services.
The Stoneham Arena will be closed until further notice.
Administrative offices for Public Works are also only open by appointment, and residents can call 781-438-0760 to schedule an in-person meeting.
The Stoneham Department of Public Works asks residents to be mindful of the extra load on municipal sewer systems while more people than usual are in their homes throughout the day. Residents should not flush any paper towels, sanitary cleaning wipes or rags down the toilet. Flushing these items could cause issues with the municipal sewer system and town sewer pumping stations. Please dispose of paper towels, sanitary wipes and rags in your normal trash.
Trash pickup and collection schedules will continue uninterrupted.
The Stoneham Facilities Department will continue its thorough deep cleaning regimen of all town buildings and is maintaining an inventory of supplies to support this process.
Stoneham Public Schools are closed through Friday, April 3. Students in grades 3-6 who did not bring their Chromebooks home may collect them at Stoneham High School, 149 Franklin St. from 10 a.m. to noon.
Stoneham Public School’s breakfast and lunch programs will continue during the closure. Starting Monday, March 16, Grab-and-Go Meals will be provided at Robin Hood Elementary, 70 Oak St. and Stoneham High schools. Pick up at Robin Hood will be in the front entrance lobby, and pick up at the high school will be the Cafe. If picking up at the high school, please use the cafe entrance door by the side parking lot.
Breakfast can be picked up from 8-9:30 a.m. Lunch will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Stoneham Senior Center remains closed until further notice. The center will continue to provide transportation to local grocery stores and pharmacies. The Council can be reached at 781-438-1157 Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Officials are constantly monitoring state and federal guidance regarding the COVID-19 situation and will provide updates as new information becomes available.