The Town of Wellesley has been alerted by the state to 2 more presumed positive cases of COVID-19 in town and has put stricter measures in place to try to slow the spread of coronavirus.
While some families have begun keeping students home, and there are rumblings among some Wellesley Middle School students of a possible Friday walkout, the town is keeping Wellesley Public Schools open for now. The town’s daily update says:
At this time Wellesley Public Schools will remain open to educate our students during regular school hours. Based on the current COVID-19 activity and status in our
community, it’s preferred for students to remain in schools during the day, rather than dispersing throughout the community and increasing the overall risk for all residents.
However, effective tomorrow, Thursday, March 12, Wellesley Public Schools will cancel all non-WPS afternoon and evening events/rentals that occur in WPS buildings. WCCC afterschool childcare will continue on a normal schedule. Additionally, effective Friday, March 13, the following types of activities will be canceled until further notice: all field trips, dinners/banquets, and performances.
At this time, WPS will continue to hold the following types of activities: after school tutoring, IVEP lessons, student clubs, athletics and rehearsals. Spectators will not be permitted at any indoor athletic events. In addition, after school enrichment programs offered by the Recreation Department at elementary schools will continue until further notice.
At Babson College, students started to move out to meet a March 21 deadline set by the school earlier this week. Lots of cars with out-of-state plates and cargo filling them up could be seen across campus.
In our meanderings around town, things were quiet. Whether that had to do with the coronavirus or Wellesley just being Wellesley, we’re not sure. But at lunch in Wellesley Square, a server pooh-poohed the situation, referring to coronavirus as “just like the flu.” At Market Basket in Ashland, shelves were full, shoppers went about their business.
The commuter rail out of and into Wellesley definitely felt like more of a vacation week train. I sat in 2-seaters going in and out and no one sat next to me either time. And I wasn’t coughing or sniffling.
The outside world is expressing interest in Wellesley’s reaction to the coronavirus. I spoke with a Bloomberg News reporter about the vibe in town, assuring him that people are being empathic toward those who might be sick, acknowledging that “this could happen to any of us.” When asked about whether people are angsty about the schools being open, I said that some are, but that there’s already a good amount of angst regarding the schools related to next week’s vote on a non-binding referendum on elementary schools.
Meanwhile, the town has taken new actions to minimize public gatherings, canceling non-essential government meetings, restricting the size of Council on Aging programs, and modifying library programs. Not that you can’t go to the libraries for now, but you are being encouraged to take advantage of virtual loans, such as e-books, audiobooks and video streaming.
Event organizers have been hemming and hawing, with some promoting events to us 1 day, then reconnecting a day or 2 later to let us know things have been scrapped. We’ve been keeping a running list of Wellesley cancellations and postponements.
More businesses also reached out to patrons to assure them that they are abiding by or going beyond recommended cleaning protocols and discouraging anyone not feeling well to reschedule appointments or not visit until they are well.