It’s near impossible to keep up with all of Wellesley’s coronavirus (COVID-19) news, but we’ll at least try to give you the highlights/lowlights here. Like many of you’ve we’ve tried to lay relatively low, but from what we’ve seen in town, things were quiet on Friday, except at supermarket parking lots.
All Wellesley Free Libraries are shutting down until at least March 30. Hold onto your donations of books, etc., until the library gives the word. And by all means take advantage of the libraries’ virtual offerings. Here’s hoping for some book loan forgiveness, too, though without sports on TV, I might actually finish a few of the books I borrow before they’re due.
The Wellesley Recycling & Disposal Facility’s give-and-take area’s opening will be postponed until further notice, but residential hours remain unchanged.
While we’re at the point at which it’s more news when a Wellesley event IS being held rather than canceled or postponed, we continue to get notices from organizers changing plans based on coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.
Town Hall will be open for daily business and voting through March 17, but then will close to the public until March 30. Gov. Baker has announced a modification of open meeting laws to keep big crowds from gathering, and Wellesley Public Media and the town are looking at ways to allow remote viewing and access.
“We’re testing possible ways to aggregate people from remote locations into a single online meeting and disseminate that to Internet and local cable channels in real time,” says James Joyce, executive director at Wellesley Media. “In the short term we will continue covering essential meetings like we always do.”
The Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday will feature this remote access protocol: “Residents can view the meeting from this youtube link. The online meeting will also be streaming live and will be telecast live on Comcast channel 8 and Verizon channel 40. Residents seeking to participate in Citizen Speak or any other agenda item should email [email protected] prior to the meeting and a number will be assigned for speakers. All residents seeking to participate shall call into 781-489-7525 (Conference Line) and await the announcement of your assigned number to speak. Individuals wishing to participate who have not received a number shall be asked at the end of the agenda item if they would like to speak before the Board moves on to the next agenda item.”
Wellesley Recreation Commission announced it will indefinitely postpone Rec Department programs, classes, rentals, & events. This includes all winter programs currently underway. Program and class makeup dates and refund information will be provided at a later date. Please contact the Re Department at [email protected] or at (781) 235 – 2370 with any questions. Wellesley United Soccer Club is shutting down through April 15.
Meanwhile, with the public schools shut down for a while, there’s much work to be done in figuring out how to teach kids during the closure, how to pay staff, and how to provide resources to students who rely on free or reduced-price meals.
Dana Hall School has also changed things up in light of COVID-19: ”
All students who are able to remain away from campus at the conclusion of spring break should do so. Please see below for those who are not able. From Monday, March 23 through Wednesday, March 25, faculty will have time to plan and prepare for remote teaching and learning options. Students will begin taking classes online on Thursday, March 26 through Friday, April 3. We will make an evaluation at that time to determine if there is a need to extend this period of remote learning.
Remote classes will include online teaching and video tools; we will also continue our use of Schoology and Google Apps. Students will need reliable, high-speed internet access. If your family is unable to accommodate a remote learning environment for your student, please contact the appropriate division director…”
State Rep. Alice H. Peisch (D-Wellesley), House Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Education, has called on Governor Baker and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to close all schools in the Commonwealth to prevent community spread of COVID-19, while ensuring access to vital services for vulnerable student populations.
More details on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is playing out locally in the Wellesley daily update from the town.
Events are off
The big one: The Boston Marathon won’t be running through Wellesley (or anywhere else) in April. The race has been postponed until September.
Among other spreading the word about a change of plans was the Wellesley Historical Society, which has postponed a couple of upcoming lectures, one featuring a Susan B. Anthony reenactor. The Tollhouse Shop, which sells gently used and vintage items donated by locals, is also closed until April 1.
Wellesley Congregational Church (Village Church, 2 Central St.) has joined UU Wellesley in making the decision to suspend worship and all on-site gatherings in order to participate in shared efforts to contain and limit the spread of virus. What’s more, the Archbishop of Boston has made the decision effective immediately to temporarily suspend all daily and Sunday Masses and religious services in the Archdiocese of Boston until further notice.
Truly temporarily closes, and those Wellesley businesses sure are clean
Truly Yogurt is temporarily closing in light of COVID-19 concerns, though owner Steve Marcus says “We also sent out a note to staff informing them that we will compensate them for their scheduled time (lost) for the foreseeable future.” Now there’s a feel-good story. Let’s hope big crowds can return soon.
Truly Yogurt is one of the exceptions so far in closing temporarily.
Those staying open are assuring patrons that they are super clean, have always been super clean, and are getting even cleaner. I mean, we’re talking:
- “Throughout our history, we have always followed the highest standards of safety and sanitation…”
- “…have always been held to the highest standards of sanitation and safety to protect both our guests and our team. We have been diligent about not only keeping our spaces at these standards, but exceeding them…”
- “As experienced food professionals, we take sanitation, hygiene and food handling very seriously every day…”
Restaurants are encouraging customers to order online if that makes them more comfortable. And some, like Sweetgreen, are touting their employee benefits: “Our paid wellness leave policy goes above and beyond industry standards. And now, we will be offering up to 14 days of Care Pay to employees who have been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19 so they can self-isolate at home. We never want a team member to put work before their health.”
Here’s hoping the businesses and their staffs will all be cleaning up in a different way before long. We’ll try to think of ways that we can be of help, too.
On the bright side…
It’s not all gloom-and-doom across town. The flowers have begun to pop, with Spring just around the corner.