BREAKING: 4 Of 8 Wilmington Schools To Go FULL REMOTE From January 19 To January 29

Wilmington School Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand sent the following letter to parents and guardians on Saturday, January 16, 2021:

Dear WPS Parents/Guardians and Staff,

My commitment to maintain our operations and support in‐person learning remains steadfast, as I believe that it is not only best for our children, but it is also entirely possible to accomplish with our established protocols.

It appears that our community is struggling to help us in this effort. There were many who were skeptical of us remaining open immediately after the holiday break, anticipating that people would travel and/or be in contact with others. However, I was hopeful that everyone would do the right thing over the break in following the guidance to stay safe, allowing us to return to school with no new cases. Unfortunately, this has not occurred and based on the Department of Education’s weekly reporting, it is clear that we have the highest cases from surrounding districts during the reporting period of January 7 to 13:

District

Student Positive Cases

page1image19544Staff Positive Cases

Andover

0

0

Bedford

0

0

Billerica

0

0

Burlington

4

1

Reading

0

0

North Andover

0

0

North Reading

5

1

Wilmington

7

1

Woburn

3

1

Source: https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/positive‐cases/

Based upon these developments, and after consultation with our local health officials, I am writing to inform you that that a number of our schools will switch to fully remote instruction beginning on Tuesday, January 19 through Friday, January 29, with the exceptions noted below.

ADJUSTMENTS TO WPS OPERATION JANUARY 19 TO JANUARY 29

  • Wilmington High School & Middle School ‐ Fully Remote
  • North Intermediate & Woburn Street Elementary Schools ‐ Fully Remote

The following buildings/programs will remain open to in‐person instruction at this time:

  • Boutwell & Wildwood Early Childhood Centers will follow current schedules
  • Shawsheen Elementary & West Intermediate Schools will follow current schedules
  • ALL PreK‐12 high needs programs will follow current schedules

WHY THE DECISION TO GO REMOTE?

We now have almost 30 new positive cases in the District and Wilmington is experiencing for the first time the reality that our total new positive case count is greater for the community’s youth as compared to new adult cases.

It is essential that our community and families take this time to “reset” and seek testing if anyone in your family is exhibiting symptoms, and stay home to quarantine until the results are back. Not only do we have the new cases of close to 30, but there has been 1 case of person to person spread and there are more than 80 active ‘close contacts’ ‐ students or staff who are currently quarantined.

The impact of this total situation is simply too challenging logistically to continue to operate all of our schools due to a combination of factors, including reaching capacity to maintain the current pace of contact tracing, the impact of students shifting in and out of quarantine, and contending with ongoing strains on staffing.

I realize that this is deeply disappointing to many, and especially those families and community members who have been trying hard to follow the guidelines and do the right thing to remain safe. However, with safety of our students and staff at the forefront, and a careful consideration of the impact on instruction that is already challenging enough, this decision is necessary at this time.

Please ensure that you and your family are following the guidance that has been clearly shown to stop the spread of this disease.

Sincerely,

Glenn Brand

Superintendent of School

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