In an email to Hopkinton Public Schools families Friday, Superintendent Carol Cavanaugh urged the use of face coverings during the COVID surge in town.
Cavanaugh indicated that she met with the town’s Emergency Management Group earlier Friday and was informed that the community’s positive rate is 12.34 percent (positive cases among those tested), with 400 cases having been recorded since May 1. She noted that the case total likely is significantly higher, as that number does not include at-home tests that are not reported to primary care physicians or public health officials.
“I know that for children the virus has less impact,” she acknowledged. “And yes, there has been a significant decoupling between the number of people who get sick and the number of people who die. However, the rapid spread of COVID-19 in our schools does, in fact, interfere with day-to-day operations. When our talented teachers are absent, students are not learning at levels they should be. Compounding that is the fact that finding substitute teachers is very challenging; they’re simply not out there. When the students are out of school, they miss important instruction in both skills and content. These interruptions can be avoided through proactive measures, chief among them masking.”
Cavanaugh also noted that the particular COVID variant being transmitted at this time has a longer period of contagion than the 10 days of required masking, according to public health officials, with an estimated 10 percent still shedding the virus after Day 10.
“:So, while we are not at a level of emergency, per se, we are seeing a spike that we have the power to better contain,” Cavanaugh wrote. “At this time, as superintendent, I am strongly recommending that faculty, staff, and students return to wearing face coverings. Is it a mandate? No. But masking is certainly a proactive option that ensures continuity of teaching and learning, as well as good health for all.”
Booster vaccines recently were approved for children between the ages of 5-12, and a local booster clinic is in the works.