Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Wellesley. Although the luck of the Irish seems a dram low right now, at Swellesley we’re keeping our spirits up with the hope that the snake that is coronavirus shall be driven out of the land.
The Town has reported that Wellesley currently has seven identified cases of COVID-19: one case confirmed by Center for Disease Control (CDC) testing and six presumed positive cases (which means positive tests that have not yet been confirmed by the CDC).
The last civilian in Town Hall
I stopped in to check out the bulletin board just outside the Town Clerk’s office. I wanted to see if a physical copy of the emergency court order postponing the Town Election was posted. It wasn’t, but you can see the order here.
Nearby, the Tax Collector’s office was staffed, but a line of chairs was placed just inside the doorway to prevent entry.
Back in the parking lot, I cast one last look at Town Hall. Someone was taping a sign to the door (which I didn’t let hit me in the ass on my way out):
Speaking of Town Hall, Town Meeting has been bumped from a March 30 start to an April 27 start at Wellesley Middle School.
Helping local restaurants
Restaurants for the time being aren’t allowed to serve eat-in diners but can still provide take-out and home delivery. We’ve had a number of Swellesley readers ask if there might be a way to keep readers up to speed on who is offering what. It’s tricky since things are changing so rapidly and some eateries are more on top of updating their online sites than others, but we’re willing to give it a shot. We can create and update a page with a list of restaurants that are offering such services. If you own or manage one of these establishments (or are a patron and want to pass along communications from such places) please let us know what services you are offering, when, and please keep us updated if things change so that we aren’t sending people places that aren’t open. If you’d like to help us compile this info, please email us theswel[email protected].
“I took a drive thru town this morning and it seems like a ghost town. I starting thinking about all the small businesses that are suffering because of the virus,” wrote one friendly neighborhood cop. “I stopped in at the Maugus Restaurant to grab a cup of coffee (to go) and it’s sad how empty it was. I wonder if you would consider doing a story on how our local businesses are doing and to drum up the support of our locals to frequent them. The Maugus is a perfect example. Family-owned business for 35 years and they still have rent to pay. They are open for takeout and it would be great if some of our residents supported them and other shops in the same predicament.”
Wellesley Public Schools
From Wellesley Public Schools Supt. David Lussier:
On Friday, March 20th, the district plans to share remote learning resources for parents and students on the Wellesley Public Schools’ website. We will share more details of what this will entail on Thursday, March 19th.
In preparation for remote learning, we are reaching out today to ensure you have Internet connectivity and an Internet connected device to use throughout the school closure period due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
If you need Internet Connectivity, Comcast has offered free resources to help:
Free WiFi Hotspots – If you can see an “xfinitywifi” wireless network, (all lower case) click and join xfinitywifi network. Click for more information
If this does not work, Comcast Internet Essentials now free for 60 days
If you already have Comcast Internet essentials, they are suspending disconnects or late fees and increasing the speed for 60 days.
For all Comcast customers, they are pausing data plans for 60 days.
If you cannot access these free resources or if you need an Internet connected device for your student(s) please fill out our School/Home device connectivity survey so we can help you. We will be collecting this information through 12pm on Thursday, March 19th and will be in touch. Families with demonstrated financial need will be given first priority.
Access to the Internet is very important for your students’ education during this time period. We are committed to supporting our students and will work with you to ensure access to educational resources.
Exercise and play options limited
Municipal buildings aren’t all that are closed in town. Parks, playgrounds and playing fields are also off-limits until further notice. In a Wellesley COVID-19 update, the Town stated, “Playground equipment is not cleaned and may harbor viral material for many days. Residents are asked to exercise, walk dogs and enjoy other activities individually and not congregate. Fields and parks should not be used for pickup games of any kind. Families and children should not use play equipment. Wellesley’s trail system and larger reservations remain open, but when encountering others, please respect social distancing guidelines (6 feet).”
Wellesley Free Library updates
The Wellesley Free Library buildings will be closed through April 7. Late fees are suspended until the Library re-opens to the public.
You can reach the Main Library by phone, Monday – Friday from 9am – 6pm at 781-235-1610. The automated book return is running at the Main Library. Books may be returned through the drive-up book drop 24/7.
Curbside pick up of holds and checked out materials ends on Friday, March 20. Call 781-235-1610 ext. 1114. I called and arranged to pick up my holds later on today. The librarian asked what time I would come and the kind of car I would be driving. How I wish a few weeks ago I had requested 100 items. This will probably be the last of my holds list that makes it to me for some time. That’s because delivery has been suspended state-wide as of 3/17, so items will no longer be delivered from other libraries. The state has disabled the Commonwealth Catalog (Comcat) to prevent new requests while delivery is on hiatus. So I can’t even amuse myself by requesting 1oo things to be ready for me when the library system is once more fully operational. Foiled by those who are wise to people like me.
Books that were on hold at Fells and Hills Branch have been transferred to the Main Library and can be picked up via curbside pick-up.
The Hills and Fells Branches are completely closed. Staff will not be in the library. Book return bins at the branch libraries will be open and will be emptied each morning.
Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club cancels annual Kitchen and Home Tour
The announcement from the Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club didn’t come as a surprise. “Following the recommendation from the CDC for no gatherings or events for eight weeks, we as a club are sad to report that we are cancelling Wellesley Kitchen and Home Tour 2020,” vice-president of marketing Jenny Kane said.
The news is disappointing not only for the hard-working club members who, in a true show of all hands on deck, work tirelessly to make the tour go off without a hitch. The gorgeous homes also will miss out on the opportunity to show their stuff, their rooms all dressed up with nobody allowed in to marvel at the pristine condition of every detail. Not to mention the lost revenue for vendors, advertisers in the club’s program book, and more.
COVID-19 trickle down is hitting us right here in Wellesley, where it hurts — in the realm of community service. The Kitchen & Home Tour isn’t just a swanky event. The funds from each $45 ticket go toward providing scholarships for Wellesley students, and to support many charitable organizations.
Last year over $165,000 was given back to the Wellesley community in grants and scholarships. $65,200 alone was awarded to 27 students in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $4,000. Another $100,000 was donated to local charitable organizations.
If you were thinking about attending the WHJWC Kitchen & Home Tour, please consider giving a donation to the club in the amount of this year’s ticket price (or more!), which was set at $45. And if you weren’t going to attend the tour, but just admire the good work the club does, please donate.
Crocuses seen gathering in large groups
Here’s a reminder from nature that COVID-19 notwithstanding, spring is coming, and it’s sure to be spectacular: