Superintendent announces 22 COVID-19 cases in Shrewsbury schools

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Superintendent announces 22 COVID-19 cases in Shrewsbury schools

Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury School Superintendent Dr. Joseph Sawyer announced at the School Committee’s Oct. 21 meeting that 22 cases of COVID-19 within the hybrid and remote cohorts within the school community have been reported since the start of the school year. All are attributed to outside of school exposure. He stressed the importance of adhering to public health guidelines. 

“We know it’s hard. We know there is a certain amount of fatigue that has set it around following these different guidelines having been doing this since March but as all experts are saying we are heading into a crucial time period and it really is important for us to be able to maintain the educational model that we have…” Sawyer explained.

Regarding whether to move to full remote learning, Sawyer said that they are looking for trends and specific data in multiple kinds of measures. School districts are recommended to wait for changes in color designation in either direction in three consecutive weekly reports before considering a change to its instructional model. The key factor will be whether transmission is happening in the schools.

Barbara Malone, director of human resources shared that Central Massachusetts has seen a surge of fraudulent unemployment claims and it is happening all over the state in many economic sectors.

The district has received 158 claims since Jan.1, with 57 of those school employees whose data was stolen and used fraudulently.

Patrick Collins, assistant superintendent of finance and operations gave a budget recap.

He noted that the department received $1.39 million in a Federal Coronavirus Relief Grant which was insufficient to support them through the end of the 2020-2021 academic year because it needs to be used by Dec. 30. 

The department also received $152,663 from an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Grant which has a more lenient deadline and can extend into FY22 or FY23.

Beyond the end of the calendar year Collins has projected that the department will need an additional $615,000 in COVID-19 related expenses that will need to come from the Town’s General Fund appropriated budget.