SOUTHBOROUGH – Southborough Public School has reported a cluster of COVID-19 cases at Woodward Elementary School.
“Although we’d like to think COVID is in our rearview mirror, unfortunately it’s still here,” said Director of Wellness Mary Ellen Duggan during the Sept. 14 Southborough School Committee meeting.
She reported that there was a cluster of COVID-19 cases at Woodward.
“Thankfully, it was self-limiting, and we’ve had no new cases in that cluster since Sept. 7,” Duggan said.
According to the district COVID-19 dashboard, there have been a total of 24 cases at Woodward so far in the school year as of Sept. 16.
Specifically, between Aug. 31 and Sept. 2, there were a total of five cases — four cases in staff members and one in third grade. Between Sept. 5 and Sept. 9, there were a total of 19 cases — six in second grade, nine in third and four among staff. Five of the nine cases in third grade were in one classroom, according to the dashboard.
There were no cases reported between Sept. 12 to Sept. 16.
Across all Northborough and Southborough schools, there have been 116 COVID-19 cases year to date.
As far as COVID-19 mitigation, Duggan said HEPA filters are still in the classrooms, and the district is recommending opening windows and masks to be worn if the person has symptoms or returning from isolation or exposure.
Duggan said the district relies upon staff and students to remain home if they have symptoms.
“There are a lot of mitigation factors, but staying home if you’re symptomatic is one of the key ones,” Duggan said.
Test kits are available at the schools, library, senior center, town hall and through the health departments, according to Duggan. The district is asking people who test positive to report it.
She said COVID-19 vaccines were still “important” to prevent serious illness and hospitalizations. She noted that the Northborough and Southborough health departments have scheduled booster clinics for residents 12-years-old and older on Sept. 23, Sept. 27 and Oct. 7 at the Northborough Senior Center.
For more information on the clinics, visit https://www.nsboro.k12.ma.us/domain/1143.
Meanwhile, the district’s medical advisory team has continued to meet to discuss “what if” situations, including possible steps if there was an uptick in cases.
“Our focus is on prevention with a focus on mental health right now with programming for our students, parents and staff,” Duggan said.
A “normal” start to the school year
Throughout the School Committee meeting, district staff reflected on the changes in terms of COVID-19 from the previous school year.
Duggan said they’ve had a “great” start to the school year.
“As [Superintendent Greg Martineau] and the principals said, it all seemed a bit more normal after the past two crazy years,” she said.
Duggan noted that this time last school year, the district was still contact tracing, quarantining for 14 days and setting up test and stay locations.
“It really is a whole new, more normal start to the year,” Duggan said. “More normal, but just as busy.”