The hybrid model remains in use

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Outside of Westford Academy

Erin Cragg, Staff writer

Superintendent Bill Olsen, in coordination with the Board of Health, announced at a school committee meeting on Dec. 14 that the Westford Public School system is not planning on switching to all-remote learning in the future, as of right now because there has been no transmission of COVID through schools.

Public Health nurse Gail Johnson said that although the cases in Westford, as a community and the school system, are rising, the majority of COVID cases have been spread throughout households, some sports, and primarily during gatherings.

Stony Brook nurse Sue Hanly also spoke at the Board of Health meeting on Dec 14. “The community of Westford itself is in the red [zone], but I need to stress very much that the transmission within the school systems is negligible,” Hanly said. 

Hanly continued that if there is enough staffing, then there will continue to be no transmission throughout the schools and no need to go all-remote. 

“The schools are one of the safest places to be,” Hanly said. “The Westford school system has worked very hard to make sure that the schools are clean [and] that we’re [maintaining] distancing.” 

With the increase in cases that followed Thanksgiving gatherings, Johnson said that she fears for the upcoming holidays. 

During the Board of Health meeting, Olsen covered statistics from the Westford Public Schools’ COVID-19 Dashboard

As of Dec. 14, there are twenty-seven students throughout the district that have tested positive and 123 close contacts. With thirteen of the positive cases and forty-six of the close contacts, Westford Academy holds the majority. 

There are ten positive cases and nineteen close contacts amongst staff members in the district, the majority of which are in the elementary schools. 

The town’s nurses, administration, and Health Department are working closely to share information on positive cases and close contacts.

Hanly said that people are still nervous about the positive cases, even when they are not close contacts. She advises to save tests for those who are symptomatic or have been told to get tested.

“It’s important that we just keep up with the social distancing, the mask wearing, and the hand washing,” Johnson said. “The vaccine is almost here and we’re just hoping that we can hold on and limit the gatherings.”