Please note: This article was written in the context of after winter break and before the high school moved to a temporary remote learning model.
As of January 4th, Wellesley was a moderate COVID-19 risk area with 81 new cases. Residents of Wellesley were told by local officials to “wear a mask or face covering at all times when outdoors and indoors when not on your own property, stay home between 10 PM and 5 AM, practice good hygiene, and avoid gathering in large groups.” After Christmas, and New Years’ many families returned back home from out of state, and on January 4th students re-entered the high school to begin their hybrid schedules again.
When the high school shut down to a fully remote schedule on November 11, many students were unsure if the return to the hybrid model would last until 2021. To some people’s surprise, students were able to go back to school on the target date of December 1. Since the return to school, and the Thanksgiving break in between the district has increased the number of people tested from 9,240 to another 3,843 to increase the total number of Covid tests in Wellesley to 99,163. Despite the effort to be able to come back to school both after Thanksgiving break and Christmas break, I don’t think we should’ve returned.
This past Christmas and New Years’, it was estimated 84.5 million Americans traveled and increased the spread of COVID-19 per AAA News Room. There is no doubt that many Wellesley residents with children in the Wellesley Public Schools traveled during this period To prioritize our safety and ensure that everyone quarantined for two weeks before returning to school,, the high school should have stayed remote.
Additionally, between the dates of January 1st and 5th Wellesley increased in “Relative Change in Case Counts” and “Change in Percent Positivity”. According to Wellesley Coronavirus Briefing on January, 5 Wellesley gained 78 new cases and an increased incident rate of 18.8. (per 100,000) In order to stop the COVID-19 from coming into our school, we have to elicit certain steps, like remaining remote for an additional few weeks, to prevent the possibility of COVID-19 from initially entering the school.
This has been proven to be a divisive issue at the high school. In a poll conducted by The Bradford’s Instagram, students were split 50/50 about the decision to start in-person learning again.
With February break nearing, the high school will be put to the test once again. Students and faculty at the high school are expected to travel out of state even though it is not advised. As a community, we have to look out for these potential risks.
Every member of the high school has to take responsibility during this time as we are coming back from the holidays and it is ski season. So in order to remain open for the rest of the school year, we have to remember the risk that we pose to others in the school and town during this time. It is important to stay safe and actively help build a safe community.