Here are some of the highlights from Monday’s Wellesley Board of Health meeting (see Wellesley Media recording):
Neither the town nor Wellesley Public Schools system reported any COVID cases this past week. WPS Head of Nursing Linda Corridan said this was the second straight week for the schools without a positive case. More than 400 students are scheduled to get vaccines at a clinic at Wellesley High School this week, and will return for a second dose in mid-June.
The Board of Health recently questioned whether Wellesley Public Schools should continue with its COVID-19 pool testing for the last few weeks of the school year in light of falling case numbers and the fact that so many faculty and staff (and increasingly, students) are vaccinated. It’s not like doing the testing is free. But it sounds like WPS will finish out the year with testing.
The hope is that it won’t be necessary come the new school year, and Corridan did say the testing will not be done for the extended summer program. “We’re hoping we will not be in a place where we need to do testing in the fall,” she said.
The Board of Health emphasized its desire to work closely with the school system on procedures before classes begin again in the fall, and a plea was made as well to give parents a say in how masking and other protocols might be handled at that time.
Wellesley resident and Tufts Medical Center Dr. Shira Doron said that case and patient numbers as well as vaccination take-up are looking good, but that anxiety is rising among those concerned as the state’s face covering order is rescinded come May 29. The town is redoubling efforts to let residents and town employees know that the Health Department is available to help people with their mental and social health as the state and town reopen, said Wellesley Health Director Lenny Izzo, whose team is also very busy handling an increase in requests by camps and other programs looking to expand their offerings in light of fewer COVID-19 restrictions.
Mental health event rescheduled
Parents and other adults are invited to take part in a Health Department online program discussing teen depression on June 8 at 7pm (the event has been rescheduled from May 24). Join a free webinar and learn from a clinician about how to recognize the signs of depression and support our teenagers. Register with the Health Department in advance.
Appetite for more outdoor dining
With the state’s Emergency Order being lifted on June 15, expanded outdoor dining is supposed to end 60 days later. But both Izzo and Select Board member Beth Sullivan Woods said there’s an “appetite” in town across town departments and the community for more outdoor dining, and that if the state doesn’t come up with a solution that the town could.
“We are looking at what we can do as an interim solution and what we can do as a longer-term solution,” Sullivan Woods said. “A number of us believe [expanded outdoor dining] is here to stay,” she said.
Separately, the Nourishing Wellesley program backed by state funds and coordinated by the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber, Wellesley Health Department, and Wellesley Housing Authority started in March and will have served 1,115 meals to those in need by early June. About $40K was spent with local restaurants, providing a win for both residents and local businesses. Volunteers, including from the Wellesley Service League and Wellesley High Key Club, have supported the effort.
Another state grant could be on its way this fall to extend the program.