BROOKLINE — The Brookline Select Board, Town Administrator Mel Kleckner and Director of Health and Human Services Dr. Swannie Jett wish to provide the community with regular updates about the town’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.
There are currently seven presumed positive cases of COVID-19 in Brookline, according to the Department of Brookline Public Health.
The Town of Brookline’s COVID-19 website, BrooklineCOVID19.com, is updated regularly with a variety of information about the emergency’s impact on services and the community.
Schools Offering Learning Resources
The Public Schools of Brookline have made resources available to help students and parents cope with the interruption to students’ learning and routines.
While not intended as substitutes for classroom instruction, the materials serve as a framework meant to provide families with opportunities to support their children’s learning while they are away from school. Educators and staff are actively developing strategies to continue engaging with students while schools are closed
The resources are on the district’s website and accessible here. There are currently resources for students in kindergarten through eighth grade online. The resources are also accessible via BrooklineCOVID19.com.
Beginning on Friday, March 20, from noon to 1:30 p.m., families who do not have a working digital device at home can pick up a free school-issued Chromebook to borrow while schools remain closed. Interested families should complete a request form online.
Families that do have a home computer or device that provides students adequate access to online resources are asked not to request a Chromebook.
Additionally, Comcast will be providing two months of free internet service to qualifying families through its Internet Essential program. Click here to learn more and apply.
Additional Updates and Information, In Case You Missed Them
BrooklineCOVID19.com is Live
The town’s new website dedicated to the COVID-19 emergency, BrooklineCOVID19.com, is now live as an in-depth resource for residents, visitors, and business owners to receive all town updates as the COVID-19 situation develops.
Visitors can subscribe via email to receive notifications for new posts. The website is also tied to the social media accounts for numerous town departments, helping ensure residents are alerted to key updates in a timely manner.
The new site features a modern, blog-style layout, mobile device compatibility, and a user-friendly design that contains:
- A news blog
- Links to key Town of Brookline resources, including those for schools and town government
- Links to order free and reduced lunch, as well as links to resources like the Brookline Food Pantry
- Updates on what town buildings/facilities are actively closed
- Emergency parking rules
- Email subscription capability
- Contact information for the town, including the emergency call center.
Brookline COVID-19 Call Center and Email
For general COVID-19 questions not specific to the Town of Brookline, please call the state 211 line.
The Town of Brookline has established a call center in order for residents to ask non-medical questions specific to COVID-19 in Brookline. The call center will be staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The number for the call center is 617-879-5636.
Residents seeking answers to Brookline-specific medical or public health inquiries should continue to contact the Department of Brookline Public Health at 617-730-2300.
Messages left after hours will be returned the next day. Residents can also email their non-medical inquiries to: [email protected].
Remember, in the case of emergencies, please call 911.
Emergency Parking Rules in Place
While the Select Board’s town-wide Declaration of Emergency remains active, the following parking rules will be in effect:
The Brookline Police Department WILL NOT be enforcing the following parking regulations during the town’s COVID-19 emergency:
- Two-hour parking zones
- Overnight parking ban
- Parking meters
The following existing or temporary parking regulations and prohibitions WILL be enforced:
- Fire hydrant violations
- Handicap parking violations
- Crosswalk parking violations
- Bus stop violations
- Parking within an intersection
- 15-minute takeout/delivery parking zones
- All other public safety-related violations
Prevention and What to Do if You Feel Sick
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Department of Brookline Public Health have stated that seniors and those with chronic health conditions are the most at-risk for serious illness caused by the coronavirus; they urge that those in this vulnerable population take appropriate precautions to mitigate their risk of becoming sick. As has been widely suggested, any person who believes they may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their primary care physician immediately.
Federal, state and local health leaders all encourage residents to actively take part in social distancing — avoiding close physical contact with others, especially gatherings of 10 people or more, and working from home — in order to slow the spread of the virus.
Reported symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, shortness of breath and respiratory illness, including pneumonia in severe cases.
If anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, dry cough or shortness of breath, they should stay home and they are advised to contact their primary care physician. According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus appear within 2-14 days of exposure.
If you feel sick, the CDC recommends:
- Calling your primary care physician before visiting them in person
- Staying home and limiting your contact with others
- Wearing a facemask if you are sick. Masks are not recommended for widespread use by healthy people.
Brookline Public Health recommends that residents continue with good hygiene practices including:
- 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.
Free and Reduced Lunch for Brookline Students
During the temporary closure of the Public Schools of Brookline, students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals will be offered meals at no cost through the district’s online student ordering system.
Students 18 and under can access grab-and-go prepared meals at one of four locations — Coolidge Corner School (CCS), Pierce School, Brookline High School and Baker School — three days per week.
See the table below to determine when and where you should pick up meals:
All school buildings providing lunches during the period that the district is closed will undergo rigorous cleaning and disinfecting on a regular basis.
Families that qualify for free or reduced meals can use publicschoolsofbrooklineschoolnutrition.com to place orders ahead of time through the Out of School Ordering System. The website also has step-by-step instructions on how to place an order online.
Brookline Food Pantry Update
Families who take part in the Brookline Food Pantry’s Brookline Thrives program should be aware of the following:
- Brookline Thrives bags will be available at Brookline Food Pantry locations during their operating hours.
- In addition, Thrives bags will be available for pick-up on Fridays from 3-5 p.m. in the Community Room at 226 High St. Just ask a Pantry volunteer for a Thrives bag at the entrance.
- To promote social distancing, the Food Pantry has announced changes to their normal procedures (shoppers wait outside while volunteers prepare bags to hand to them at the door).
- Complete details about the Food Pantry are available here and specific information about their Brookline Thrives program is available here.
The Brookline Select Board, in order to further implement social distancing practices, moved today to order all restaurants and bars in town to cease dine-in operations by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 16. Additionally, queues of more than 10 people inside or outside any establishment will be prohibited beginning at 5 p.m. Monday, March 16.
Restaurants may remain open and continue to offer takeout or delivery only.
Takeout patrons are urged to call ahead or place their orders online with restaurants and eateries in order to minimize face-to-face interaction and streamline the pickup process.
The Brookline Police Department and Department of Public Works are coordinating to set aside parking spaces on town streets to facilitate the takeout and delivery process.
To ease the burden these restrictions place on restaurants and eateries, the Town of Brookline has suspended its Styrofoam container ban, effective immediately.
In addition, Gov. Baker has ordered that all social gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited, including within retail establishments and other businesses. Grocery stores and pharmacies are excluded from this order.
The Brookline Department of Economic Development and Long Term Planning is actively working to engage businesses and ensure their needs are met to the fullest extent possible, and minimize the impact of COVID-related regulations.
Businesses are encouraged to review the resources available to support them during the COVID-19 response, which are online here.
Active Town Closures/Cancellations
- Town Hall and other town facilities — except parks — are closed to the public. Town staff who are able to are continuing to work remotely, so residents are encouraged to call Town Hall at 617-730-2000 or visit Brooklinema.gov
- All non-essential board and committee meetings are cancelled through April 30.
- Public Schools of Brookline are closed through at least Monday, April 6. All after-school activities and school-sponsored events are cancelled until further notice.
- Town playgrounds are closed until further notice.
- Council on Aging activities are cancelled through at least March 27.
- The senior center is closed through at least March 27.
- Recreation activities are cancelled through at least March 27.
- The Brookline Public Library is closed through at least April 6