By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
NORTHBOROUGH — Like other communities in the state, Northborough officials say they’ve seen an increase in recent COVID-19 cases.
“Our approach has been to be consistent with the state and the [Centers of Disease Control and Prevention] and not to go off on our own unless there was a compelling reason,” said Town Administrator John Coderre in an Aug. 23 Board of Selectmen meeting.
According to a presentation by Health Agent Kristin Black, there were 25 cases in Northborough over a two-week period as of Aug. 19. That was an increase from 15 cases over the previous two weeks.
“We were at a case a day,” Black said. “We had a little uptick about a week ago, but we’re coming back down,” Black said.
According to Black’s presentation, 2.24 percent of COVID-19 tests are coming back positive.
“Overall, I would say that we’re seeing both an increase in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals,” Black said.
Eighty-three percent of Northborough residents are fully vaccinated, and 90 percent have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
“We have some of the best vaccination rates in the state,” Black said.
As of the Aug. 23 selectmen’s meeting, there is not a mask mandate in Northborough or in town buildings beyond the CDC’s original recommendation that unvaccinated people should wear masks inside.
Black said both the town’s COVID-19 Task Force and the Medical Advisory Team for the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough have resumed their weekly meetings, though.
The task force is reviewing mask policies, COVID-19 numbers and what other surrounding communities are doing, Black said.
Superintendent outlines school guidelines
Black’s presentation took place before the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education gave Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley the authority to require masks for public school students and staff in all grades through at least Oct. 1 while indoors.
Prior to that, Superintendent Gregory Martineau gave an update to district families on health and safety guidelines.
The district will be providing full-time, in-person classes for all students.
Outside of masking, Martineau wrote that the district will maximize distancing in the classroom as possible, and there would be no visitors except those with prior approval. Visitors also must complete a visitor checklist.
At lunch, pre-K through eighth-grade students will have a similar protocol as in June, where students will sit a minimum of three feet apart in assigned seats and facing the same direction. There are no restrictions at the high school level.