Below is a letter sent from Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand sent to parents and guardians on Monday afternoon:
Dear Members of the WPS Community,
As you are likely aware, late yesterday, in consultation with Ms. Newhouse of the Wilmington Board of Health, I made the decision to shift the high school to fully remote based upon the developments we learned about over the weekend, in which approximately 25-30 of our high school students attended an indoor house party. Those in attendance violated the social distance and face covering guidelines established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and any one single carrier of the virus who was at that gathering holds the potential to have infected all of those who were in attendance.
Coincidentally, we learned this morning that a member of the high school student community tested positive for COVID-19 over this past weekend. This student was in school this past Friday and, although we cannot provide specific information about the individual, any student or staff who is considered a close contact (defined as being within 6 feet of the person for at least 15 minutes) will be notified and will be required to quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure to the person who tested positive, regardless of test result. As this is a case at the high school, the number of impacted students and classes is significant. We are following all Department of Health protocols, including collaborating with our local board of health and this response is in line with their guidance. The Department of Elementary & Secondary Education has been notified in accordance with our reporting obligation, as well as the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Please keep this student and their family in your thoughts during this stressful time.
I also want to take this opportunity to stress the vital need for cooperation in providing information to support contact tracing efforts. In this particular case, the student in question was at another high school party a week ago, in which there were multiple positive tests associated with that party. Efforts by the local board of health to identify all those present at that party were adversely impacted and some of the names were withheld. Had those names been provided, the individual in question would not have been in school last week, as we would have been able to notify his family to keep him out of school.
Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe. We have been planning for these scenarios during our reopening planning process and have a comprehensive plan in place to engage in contact tracing and to inform families and staff who may have been in close contact with the individual. I also want to reiterate the need to follow precautions in order to help ensure that our schools remain safe and in operation so that we can support in-person learning. Unfortunately, this positive test, as well as the most recent student gathering, serves as an important reminder to all of us about out-of-school precautions that will be critical to the overall health and well-being of our entire school community. Our local positive COVID-19 numbers in Wilmington are rising and we are likely to see a change in our color-coded identification this week.
For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-. You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13. Please contact us immediately should you or someone in your home begin to show symptoms.
Finally, I understand that this information may be stressful for some so if you do have concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to your school nurse for more information.
Thank you for your continued support.