Monson schools postpone reopening due to uptick in COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus Local Impact

MONSON, Mass. (WWLP) – Monson Public Schools have delayed their reopening due to a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases within the town.

According to Monson Public Schools Superintendent Cheryl Clarke, the reopening has been delayed to September 21 for in person because of a cluster of 12 COVID-19 cases in a seven day period. All students will participate in remote learning beginning on Monday, September 14.

Latest COVID-19 map: Monson listed as high-risk zone for COVID-19 spread

Clarke said they made the decision because Monson’s cases had been extremely low for many weeks, less than five cases, and increased to 12 during a short period of time. She added that they also found out there were several large gatherings over the last few weekends within the town where social distancing and mask protocols weren’t being followed.

Clarke also told 22News that none of these cases are school employees or current students.

Monson Public Schools reopening plan will feature the following:

  • Preschool and Kindergarten be in person for four full days Monday through Thursday
  • Grades 1-12 will be hybrid with two days on and two days off
  • Friday is a half-day remotely for all schools

Clarke sent the following letter home to families on Monday:

I am writing today with some unfortunate news. We are going to postpone the in-person opening of school until Monday, September 21. All students will participate in remote learning beginning on Monday, September 14. There will be no school this week – either in person or remote. These days will be added on to the end of the school calendar in June. Our priority is the health and safety of everyone in our school community, and much consideration has gone into this decision.

As of today, there are 12 positive cases of COVID-19 in Monson. This is a significant increase over prior weeks. It should be noted that none of these cases are school employees or current students. However, Monson is a small town, and we know there have been large gatherings that have occurred over the last week in Monson and surrounding communities with Monson residents in attendance where social distancing and mask guidelines were not adhered to. There are many people who have pending test results and who are self-quarantining. We cannot and will not take the chance that a person who attended a party or was exposed to someone who is carrying the virus enters our school buildings.

We know that our students and staff were excited to be back at school and together again. We also realize this will pose a hardship for parents who have to arrange for childcare. However, the spread of the virus in town is beyond our control. We will be watching the metrics and analyzing the trends of this disease and may have to extend the suspension of the in-person portion if necessary.

As of today, however, our target is September 21, but we will update you along the way. Our staff will be in on a staggered schedule tomorrow so that they may gather the resources and technology needs for your child. There will be no parent pick-up times tomorrow; instead, we will be delivering materials to your door on Wednesday and Thursday, September 9 and 10.

A schedule will be coming soon so that you know when to expect your delivery. Also, additional details will be forthcoming regarding the breakfast and lunch service. If you have any questions regarding your family’s health and safety, please reach out to our Nurse Leader Karen Fedora at fedorak@monsonschools.com.

We appreciate your understanding and support during this difficult time. Please stay safe, remember to always wear your mask and respect social distancing guidelines.

Monson Public Schools Superintendent Cheryl Clarke

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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