The Wellesley Middle School community has now registered its first positive COVID-19 test results of the school year, according to a letter sent to that community by Director of Nursing Services Linda Corridan.
According to Corridan’s memo (embedded below), “If you have not been notified by me or the Middle School nurses then you or your child were not identified as a close contact. At this time, there is no evidence of direct transmission within the school and these cases appear to be unrelated. I want to reassure you that we continue to adhere to all of our safety protocols that we have put in place.”
It’s unclear whether the cases involve administration, faculty, other staff, or students, as Wellesley Public Schools has cited privacy reasons for not revealing such details to this point. It would be helpful for the community to get a sense of this information to stem speculation, and for other organizations in town to be able to learn about what’s working or not in terms of prevention measures.
The general case data has been added to the WPS case dashboard. WPS only allows faculty/staff/parents/guardians to receive direct communications on case updates, except on occasion when WPS and the Board of Health jointly issue memos, as they have done a couple of times recently regarding a rise in cases at the high school.
“I know there’s a lot of conversation about the degree to which the district is providing even more details,” Supt. Dr. David Lussier said during this week’s School Committee meeting. “We’re working in partnership with the Wellesley Health Department to find and strike a balance of maintaining privacy and confidentiality while also wanting to be transparent and provide communication to the community.”
(We’re fortunate to have members of the community who pass along the communications to us, to help keep the wider community informed about this public health crisis.)
WPS has been conducting weekly surveillance testing of faculty and staff across the system, as well as Wellesley Middle School and High School students, though with the high school closed for now, those WPS members aren’t being tested. Participation in the testing program is not mandatory, and about 70% to 80% are taking the tests overall, Lussier said earlier in the week at a Board of Health meeting.
Wellesley High School has been closed until after Thanksgiving due to a spike in cases there in recent weeks, but the cluster there (14 cases over the past 2 weeks) has not affected the schedules of other schools in the system. WPS is looking to do a new round of baseline testing before students and staff return from the Thanksgiving break, and is working out logistics.
Wellesley has veered into the “yellow” level on the state’s recently reconfigured weekly COVID-19 public health report, based on average daily COVID-19 incidence rate per 100,000 people.
Wellesley had consistently been a “green” community but shot up from 5.3 to 13.7 cases per 100,000 on last week’s chart vs. this week’s.