HPS’ Rodrigues criticizes relaxed attitudes towards COVID-19 after Hudson case spike

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By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer

Hudson – Schools Superintendent Marco Rodrigues did not mince words while updating the Hudson School Committee on his administrative team’s coronavirus response, Nov. 17.

Particularly following the single most devastating week in his town’s now eight-month fight against the global pandemic, Rodrigues said staff are frustrated and exhausted as they continue both contact tracing and standard safety efforts.

“It’s insane in my mind to think that with everything that’s happening, with the awareness that exists across the country, in the commonwealth, even in the region, we’re still escalating to this level,” he said of the recent case surge in Hudson.

“People are not being preventative,” he added. “They’re not maintaining social distancing. There are gatherings.”

Hudson, indeed, recorded 52 new COVID-19 cases between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16. That spike shattered a previous peak infection rate from the week of April 28, when Hudson recorded 31 new cases.

While the rate of infections in schools has remained low, meanwhile, cases have cropped up.

Four members of the school community tested positive on Oct. 18 alone.

Then, between Nov. 11 and 12, a spike of three positive tests came in, also coinciding with a positive test from what school officials described in a press release as an individual connected to the Hudson High School field hockey team. That last test landed 27 students in quarantine according to district data.

To date, 17 students and staff from the Hudson Public Schools have tested positive for COVID-19, directly exposing at least 143 other school community members as determined by district contact tracers.

Rodrigues says he’s proud of district mitigation efforts. But he still wishes those numbers were lower.

“We’re reactive to so many things, but this is something that we’re not reacting to,” he said of Hudson as a broader community. “It’s in front of us. You see it every day with people being hospitalized…But it seems that this is not fazing anyone.”

In light of those trends, Rodrigues told School Committee members, Nov. 17, that he has no plans to transition his district back to full time in person learning. That’s in spite of a new push from state officials to maximize time spent in classrooms.

In Hudson, Rodrigues said, there simply is not space to safely bring any more students into buildings on a given day.

“It’s going to be a phased approach [when we start bringing more students back in],” he said. “But we’re not there yet.”