"We Have 23 And It's Only Wednesday"

Published by Chris Wangler- January 7, 2021.

It was pretty much inevitable.
A plan to return selected Waltham students to hybrid learning later this month was postponed amid a “large surge in cases.”
On Monday, 14 school-related coronavirus cases were reported. By Wednesday, that number was 23, said WPS superintendent Brian Reagan during a school committee meeting this week.
The highest previous total for a whole week was 17.
Grades 2, 3, 6, 11 and 12 were set to return for hybrid learning on January 19. Now Phase 2 has been delayed until February 1, with further information expected at an upcoming meeting.
As predicted, the virus positivity rate in Waltham rose over the holiday break, reaching 5.47% on December 31. The city’s status worsened to red when the rate passed 4% back on December 17.
Mixed social gatherings outside of schools, often unmasked, continue to lead to community spread, Reagan said.
To have students return to hybrid in-person learning, the case numbers would have to decline and the positivity rate dip under 4%.
The superintendent reiterated his longstanding goal to get kids back in Waltham schools, where “we have not seen evidence of transmission,” but virus skepticism isn’t helping.
He has received emails describing the coronavirus as “a sham, a government conspiracy and fake news.”
Meanwhile, school nurses making calls to do contact tracing “are being hung up on, lied to and sworn at by parents,” he said. The nurses only want to notify parents of possible close contact.
On a positive note, vaccines are expected as soon as February, and Waltham has been approved as a distribution site.
“We will be able to administer the vaccine to our school staff as soon as it becomes available,” Reagan said.
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