The closing of Morses Pond beach and management of the Brook Path in light of COVID-19 concerns have been hot topics in Wellesley in recent weeks. Now some in town would like to see Wellesley officials take a fresh look at playing field rules as the weather gets nicer.
Gov. Baker on Monday revealed the Massachusetts reopening plan. Based on new state guidance, tennis and pickleball courts could be among the first public play areas to re-open, with fields or courts that might involve contact play still a ways off.
The state in late March temporarily closed athletic fields and courts within the state park system until at least May 18, though parks are open for certain activities, such as hiking.
Wellesley closed parks, playing fields and playgrounds in March 16 to help enforce social distancing and to help avoid possible contamination through touching of playground equipment. Wellesley’s trails remain open for those adhering to social distancing.
Wellesley resident Jesse Boehm is among those who has launched a citizen petition urging the Natural Resource Commission to re-open fields it manages to support “the social and emotional well-being of our children.” The petition recommends at least opening fields for those within a family to use. It is not suggesting that structures, including playgrounds, be re-opened yet.
“A limited opening of fields would be consistent with the data-driven approach to risk assessment currently being used by the Commonwealth,” the petition states.
Wellesley’s fields are managed by both the Natural Resources Commission and School Committee, so the petition is being submitted to both organizations. The School Committee meets this week on Tuesday, May 19, and the NRC meets on Thursday, May 21, so there’s a good chance we’ll hear an update this week.
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Joanna Gilbert says
Well, as a neighbor of Sprague Fields, I can attest that the town has pretty much let kids play on the field on the regular. Every day that the temperature has been above 55°F, there have been plenty of kids hanging out, playing soccer and lacrosse and leaving their garbage around. The police never patrol the area and the School Committee told me that the neighbors should tell the kids to leave (as if; that is waaaay above my pay grade).
I have never thought that I could contract COVID-19 from these kids and I completely agree that there needs to be some way for our children to interact (safely) and get fresh air and exercise but it is the complete absence of responsibility of the Town, the School Committee and WPS and the WPD that bothers me. They post signs and then don’t bother to enforce the closure. But the mere suggestion that students might be hanging out in a socially distant and responsible manner in their cars at WHS was shut down in an instant. Now they congregate on these fields without distancing and it seems to be A-okay with the powers that be. It sends a very mixed message…