Gov. Baker Announced Extended Statewide Closure of Schools Until May 4
WHITMAN — Superintendent Jeffrey Szymaniak announces that, in accordance with an order from Governor Charlie Baker, Whitman-Hanson Public Schools will remain closed through the end of April as a precaution against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statewide closure of schools, originally set to end on April 7, has been extended to end Monday, May 4.
The closure of schools is an unprecedented step by the state that is seen as vital to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 and to continue the practice of social distancing as more positive cases and deaths are announced in the state each day.
COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, has moved the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a global pandemic. President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency and Governor Charlie Baker earlier this month declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts.
According to Gov. Baker, the extension will allow school administrators and educators added planning time to ensure students can complete course requirements, as well as provide teachers with time to expand remote learning opportunities.
Students will continue remote learning activities with the guidance of their teachers and school leaders. Teachers will also continue to reach out to students and families on a regular basis.
All athletics programs, events and after school activities will also remain suspended and fields, playgrounds and play areas will be closed until further notice.
Whitman-Hanson Public Schools are now offering home delivery for parents in need of breakfasts and lunches. Those interested in being placed on the delivery list should email [email protected].
Custodians and maintenance staff will complete a comprehensive and thorough disinfecting and sanitizing of all school and administrative buildings by April 4 to ensure a healthy environment once classes resume.
Superintendent Szymaniak and district leaders will continue to monitor the guidance and regulations of local, state and federal health experts as the situation evolves. The health and safety of students, parents, teachers and staff is the district’s number one priority.
Due to the evolving spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, Gov. Baker issued a stay-at-home advisory. This means all residents are advised to stay home during this time in order to curb the spread of this virus, with the exception of going grocery shopping or picking up medication.
Please continue to practice social distancing – maintaining a distance of approximately 6 feet from other people — and appropriate personal hygiene – with your children and explain to them the importance of doing so.
Social distancing will help to minimize exposure among people, especially given that COVID-19 is highly contagious and people may be contagious prior to exhibiting symptoms.
Children and COVID-19
Proper hygiene and prevention methods and social distancing efforts should continue until further guidelines are provided by state officials about the status of the virus.
Parents should not hold “play dates.” Clean and sanitize toys, video game controllers and all touch surfaces regularly.
As the weather continues to improve, outdoor gatherings are viewed by public health officials as safer than gathering indoors with others, but social distancing techniques should still be followed.
Organized activities like basketball and tennis are prohibited. Teens are included in this group, and activities like bike riding and hiking/walking are viewed as safer alternatives to gathering indoors.
Local, state and federal health officials are encouraging residents to take the following precautions to prevent infectious diseases, such as the flu and COVID-19, from spreading:
- For a minimum of 20 seconds, wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick
- Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
- If you are an essential employee who is continuing to go into work, stay home if you have a fever or are ill
COVID-19 Information Resources
Residents are encouraged to stay informed regarding COVID-19. The following websites are recommended for the most updated information:
- Town of Whitman Official COVID-19 Website: whitmancovid19.com
- Town of Hanson Website: https://www.hanson-ma.gov/
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health: www.mass.gov/covid-19
- Massachusetts 2-1-1 general COVID-19 information: Click here or dial 2-1-1 (24/7)
- Sign up for the Massachusetts COVID-19 Text Message Notification System to receive important updates: text “COVIDMA” to 888-777
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov
Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.