The following news briefs represent a sampling of what’s happening in the Greater Boston area. These reports were compiled from municipal and school websites and statements from public officials, and will be updated as more information becomes available.
The annual Abington St. Patrick’s Day parade was canceled. “WE JUST HEARD FROM THE STATE," organizers wrote on the parade website. “THEY HAVE TOLD US TO CANCEL OUR ANNUAL PARADE....See us in 2021.”
On March 9, town officials reported that an Arlington resident was diagnosed with a presumptive case of COVID-19 and one of their children, who is a student in the Stratton Elementary School, also tested positive for COVID-19. Close contacts of the infected student have been advised to self-quarantine for 14 days and not report to school on Tuesday.
The Stratton Elementary School underwent a second round of sanitization on Monday, and crews used cleaning sprays and electrostatic machines to clean commonly touched surfaces and objects, officials said in a statement posted on the town’s website.
“The Town of Arlington was notified Sunday that a resident, a woman in her 40s who attended a Biogen employee conference last week, and one of her children developed symptoms," town officials wrote Monday. "Both were tested for COVID-19 and both tested positive. The second parent in the household and their other child, who attends the Gibbs School, remained symptom free on Monday but shall remain in self-quarantine until a 14-day period has elapsed, in accordance with guidance from DPH. Arlington’s health officials are still awaiting test results which involve another Arlington family, a member of which also attended the Biogen conference, whose children attend school at Dallin Elementary, Gibbs and Arlington High School.”
Arlington Schools Superintendent Kathleen Bodie also announced that the All-Town Choral, Orchestra, and Band Concerts and dress rehearsals that were scheduled to be held between March 10 and 17 have been postponed. “We are taking this action in an abundance of caution,” she wrote. "Also, some students and families are in self-quarantine and would not be able to participate, which creates an inequitable situation. We are postponing these events and associated dress rehearsals with the hope of finding future dates when they can be rescheduled.”
All programming at the Arlington Senior Center has been suspended until further notice, officials announced March 11. Senior transportation services will still run.
Officials said public meeting spaces will remain closed until further notice and all programs and events at Arlington’s libraries will be postponed. Arlington Recreation Department meetings, programming, and events have also been cancelled. While regular business will continue for town employees, officials said they will not not be allowed to go on domestic trips or travel out of the country.
“Town officials are actively discussing potential impacts on Town Meeting and also speaking with state officials regarding potential legislative relief. As more information becomes available it will be shared with Town Meeting Members and the general public," officials said. “Any meeting cancellations would be posted on the town website and at town hall."
Town officials ask that municipal employees, residents, or students who feel sick with fever or flu symptoms stay home.
Arlington officials announced March 12 that they would move to operate with minimal staff and would be closing large public centers like the public library, the Arlington Youth Counseling Center and the Arlington Senior Center through March 27. All town meetings are also cancelled through March 27.
A Bedford resident who attended a Biogen employee conference and developed symptoms related to COVID-19 received test results that were presumptive positive. “The impacted residents’ child attends Bedford High School, and the student, as well as other household family members, were quarantined," town officials said in a statement on March 10. “The student is not currently symptomatic. In immediate response, all public buildings, including Bedford High School, were sanitized and disinfected.....the resident will now enter isolation at his residence. His family will remain in quarantine.”
On March 11 Superintendent Jon Sills announced that the student’s mother’s test results were also presumptive positive. “I am writing to update you on the case involving our Bedford student whose father’s test results came back as presumptive positive last night,” he wrote. “Since that time, we have learned that the mother’s test is presumptive positive as well. Prior to last night, our understanding from the family was that the student did not have overt, impactful, and pervasive symptoms consistent with COVID-19 toward the latter end of last week. We now understand that overt, impactful, and pervasive symptoms consistent with illness occurred outside of the school environment. Please know that this situation is extremely fluid. We will keep you informed regarding the implications of a negative or a positive test.”
A person who attended the Biogen conference in Boston last month has become the first Belmont resident to presumptively test positive for the coronavirus, Belmont officials announced in a statement March 11. The person is a parent of students who attend the Chenery Middle School in Belmont and Belmont High School. Officials said the person and their family have not been to school or work since last week to prevent the virus from spreading. The person is showing mild symptoms but is “in good spirits,” according to officials, and the other family members have not had any symptoms of the virus.
The family will remain quarantined in their home for the next 14 days, officials said. The schools the children attend and the Belmont Public Library were cleaned and disinfected before they opened March 11. Officials said all town buildings will also be systematically disinfected and cleaning protocols “with a focus on high touch points" have been strengthened at all schools. The Belmont Public Schools Facilities Department will make sure all soap and hand towel dispensers in the schools are refilled regularly, officials said. More disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer will be distributed to every school, officials said.
As of March 10, there were no positive cases (presumptive or confirmed) in Cambridge, but 15 residents were being monitored because they were either connected to the Biogen meeting in Boston or had recently traveled from mainland China or Iran. For the latest updates, visit the Cambridge Public Health Department’s coronavirus website.
On March 12 Cambridge Schools Superintendent Kenneth N. Salim announced that he will be working from home. “Last night, I learned that my child’s school will be closed due to a school community member testing positive for COVID-19,” Salim wrote on the school district’s website. “All those who have entered the building have been advised to avoid public places and practice social distancing, and this applies to me. "As advised by health officials, I am going to be working remotely, including making my presentation of the 2020-21 Budget by videoconference. I will remain in constant contact with my team in CPS and with local public health and State officials, and this particular disruption should be navigable
As of March 10, there were no confirmed or presumptive cases of the coronavirus in Canton. “We have identified one teacher at the JFK Elementary School, whose spouse is under self-quarantine after attending an event last week where someone else became sick,” school officials said in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, that teacher will not be in attendance at JFK until a 14-day period has elapsed. Neither the teacher nor her spouse are showing any symptoms of COVID-19, the illness associated with the novel coronavirus. We have been advised by the DPH that this teacher’s level of risk for COVID-19 does not warrant any further action of those who came into contact with the teacher. Thankfully, we have been advised that health officials do not believe, based on the teacher’s level of exposure -- being married to a person who was at a gathering where someone else became sick -- does not raise any additional dangers for the school community in Canton.”
Everett Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani announced that all public schools in the town will be closed from March 13 and until April 27. “I understand that the decision to close schools will create disruption, but we believe that this is the best path forward to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus,” Tahiliani said in the statement. Public school officials will be providing meals for students in the Everett High School lobby from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, officials said. They will be available each day from March 16 to April 17, excluding Good Friday, which is April 10. Students must be enrolled in Everett Public Schools or Saint Anthony’s School to be eligible.
Superintendent Carol Cavanaugh announced that schools would be closed on Wednesday, March 11. “Due to Governor Charlie Baker’s declaration of a State of Emergency, coupled with the facts that there are 41 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in all of Middlesex County and two presumptive cases now in Hopkinton, the Hopkinton Public Schools will close tomorrow, Wednesday, March 11, 2020,” she wrote on Facebook. “More information will be coming from the Town of Hopkinton Board of Health via social media and the Town of Hopkinton website, as it becomes available.”
The Hopkinton library has postponed all public programming scheduled for this week and next week, and all toys have been removed from the Children’s Room.
Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera announced that the city has canceled its St. Patrick’s Day parade. “We regret to announce Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Parade Cancelled,” Rivera tweeted Tuesday morning. “As 4:30PM yesterday, there have been 0 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Essex County. The decision is being made out of an abundance of caution.”
The Lexington Office of Public Health and the Lexington Public Schools will host a community forum to discuss COVID-19 on Thursday, March 12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Cary Memorial Building. It will be live-streamed on LexMedia.org and broadcast live on Comcast 8, RCN 3 and Verizon 35, and RCN 613. If you’re watching from home, you can Tweet your questions using the hashtag #LexTalkHealth. For the latest local information on COVID-19, visit LexingtonMA.gov/COVID19.
On March 11 the city of Malden announced that all senior center all activities are canceled until further notice.
The city was notified March 10 that a resident of Medford had a presumptive positive test for COVID-19. City officials said the person had no contact with any school-aged children or vulnerable populations, and the individual was in self-quarantine and recovering at home.
The Melrose Farmers Market scheduled for March 29 has been canceled. City officials created a dedicated coronavirus page on the city’s website where they are posting news, cancellations, and other updates.
All Natick public libraries and the Natick Recreation and Teen Center is closed until further notice, town officials announced Thursday, March 12. The Community Senior Center has suspended all programs and services and all Natick public schools are closed until at least Friday, March 20, starting Friday, March 13.
The children of a Natick High School parent who presumptively tested positive for the coronavirus are also presumed to have the virus, officials announced Tuesday, March 10. The children were taken out of school while their parent waited for the test result, according to officials. Natick Superintendent Anna Nolin and Director of Public Health Jim White said in a statement that the children have not been in contact with staff or other students since their family was quarantined last week.
Natick High School was deep cleaned over the weekend of March 7 due to the situation. Officials did not say how many children in the family tested positive for the virus.
Needham public officials announced Wednesday they are cancelling all non-essential town-sponsored events and gatherings for the next month after a resident was diagnosed with COVID-19. The resident has been quarantined and officials said there is no evidence of community spread. Public health officials also urged event organizers to cancel or postpone any large gatherings for at least 30 days and encouraged Needham businesses to cancel or postpone non-essential employee meetings as well as all company travel.
The New Bedford Half Marathon that was scheduled for March 15 has been canceled. “The risk level in Greater New Bedford remains low and there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the area, but the unique nature of the event poses a risk that is higher than other public gatherings,” city officials said in a press release. “The race attracts as many as 3,000 runners, including many from places where COVID-19 cases have been confirmed. At the race’s starting line, runners are massed tightly in a corral in close contact for an extended period, raising the risk of disease transmission. There is similar risk to the thousands of spectators along the route and the City’s emergency personnel. Under the circumstances, canceling the race is the prudent course.”
A Newton resident was among the presumptive positive COVID-19 cases announced by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Sunday afternoon. Newton officials said the resident is a parent of a Newton Public School student, and the family is complying with the self-quarantine protocol provided the state Department of Public Health, and the Newton Health and Human Services Department is following up with any additional contacts of this case. The student does not have symptoms of COVID-19. “The NPS Facilities Department conducted cleaning and disinfecting at the school prior to opening on Monday," officials wrote in a message posted on the city’s website. "NPS has strengthened cleaning protocols at all schools, with a focus on high touch points. NPS is closely monitoring hand towels and soap dispensers to ensure regular refill and has purchased a large supply of hand sanitizer to be distributed to all schools.” For the latest updates on the coronavirus situation in Newton, visit www.newtonma.gov/covid19.
On March 11 Superintendent David Fleishman said all evening and community events in school facilities would be canceled until further notice, including community meetings, students performances, PTO activities, and adult education classes. All field trips have also been cancelled, he said.
City officials also announced that they would be scaling back the use of city facilities.
“In line with the advice from the Commonwealth, the City of Newton is postponing, modifying, or cancelling (or holding virtually) discretionary and/or large gatherings scheduled and hosted by the City involving the public," officials said in a statement March 11. "These include many programs offered by the Parks, Recreation and Culture Department and the Department of Senior Services, among others. We will also be modifying the use of City facilities by outside groups. Regular business and internal business will continue for now, including but not limited to mandated public hearings and Council, Board and Commission meetings.”
Eleven town employees and officials, including the town general manager, have self-quarantined after coming into close contact with a resident who had been diagnosed with COVID-19. Town General Manager Tony Mazzucco has since been notified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that his test results came back positive. The Norwood Health Department and Norwood Hospital announced that on Wednesday, March 11, the hospital would be erecting a medical tent outside of the emergency room for potential future testing of coronavirus cases.
On March 6 Plymouth Schools Superintendent Gary E. Maestas reported that a student who was tested for COVID-19 received negative results. The Plymouth Public Schools were also closed that day so a professional cleaning service could disinfect all the school buildings and buses.
Mayor Thomas P. Koch and Commissioner of Public Health Ruth Jones confirmed that a Quincy woman is one of the presumptive positive cases of the COVID-19 virus associated with the Biogen employee conference last month in Boston.
The woman, who in her 40s, is isolated and recovering well at home and is being monitored by the Quincy Department of Public Health, city officials said. She has no connection to the Quincy public schools and appears to have had “little community exposure since falling ill,” city officials said.
“This is nothing unexpected or unanticipated, and the threat to the general public remains quite low," Koch said in a statement on the city’s website. “That does not mean we do not take it seriously, and we are confirming this local case to provide as much information to our residents as possible. Commissioner Jones and our entire team is fully engaged with our partners and state and federal authorities in a methodical, rational response to both prevention and containment. The public discourse can sometimes be heavily weighted to the two extremes, and that’s what we are going to avoid. There is no reason to overreact and amplify fears people may have, but at the same time, our residents and families should be prepared for some level of disruption to their daily lives in the coming weeks. It’s nothing we can’t get through.”
The Scituate St. Patrick’s parade that was scheduled for March 15 has been “postponed indefinitely,” officials said in a Facebook post.
On March 9 Sharon Schools Superintendent Victoria L. Greer reported that a Sharon resident was tested for COVID-19 and the results were presumptive positive. “This individual and their family are currently self-quarantined," Greer wrote. "It has come to my attention that multiple members of the family either work for or attend the Sharon Public Schools. Last Thursday, March 5, the individual who tested with a presumptive positive result attended the eleventh-grade move-up ceremony hosted at Sharon High. Persons who attended the move-up ceremony and were in the immediate area or had direct contact with this individual have already been notified.”
Greer previously reported that Sharon Public Schools had planned to host a group of foreign exchange students from Spain who were scheduled to arrive March 26; those plans have been canceled until further notice. There is also a small group of Sharon students who are in France and are scheduled to return on March 15. “I have received questions and concerns about the students and whether they will be required to quarantine upon their return," she wrote. "We have consulted with the local Department of Health and have been advised that there is not a reason to require the students to quarantine at this time.”
On March 11 Superintendent Mary E. Skipper said officials were notified of three presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 which involved a male Somerville resident; a parent of a West Somerville Neighborhood School student and the spouse of a teacher at West Somerville Neighborhood School; and a parent of a student at the East Somerville Community School. “All three cases appear to be related to the Biogen conference held in Boston in February,” Skipper said in the statement. On March 13 the city of Somerville announced it would close public schools in the district and all official city buildings for at least two weeks starting Monday, March 16. Services like police and fire departments will remain open along with trash collection and the 311 call center. "We realize this decision creates inconveniences for residents, businesses, and organizations in our city but the health and safety of our community must come first,” said Mayor Joseph Curtatone aid in a statement.
Sixteen students are under self-quarantine after a teacher at the K-5 Center School in Stow tested positive for a presumptive case of the coronavirus, according to Brooke Clenchy, superintendent of the Nashoba Regional School District. Officials were not planning to close the Center School as of this weekend, Clenchy said. The teacher was tested on Sunday and received the results late Monday afternoon, Clenchy said. Students who would have to self-quarantine as a result of the case were immediately identified by the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health and the school district’s Nurse Leader “in accordance with recently established guidelines,” she said. These students were notified by medical experts and district officials Monday night. They did not attend school Tuesday. The number of affected students had been 15 until late Tuesday afternoon, Clenchy said.
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health will close for six weeks starting on Friday, March 13, Kripalu CEO Barbara Vacarr said in an e-mail Thursday. “While we have taken many precautions and thankfully have not yet identified the virus within our community (i.e., on campus), we feel it is our dharma to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for everyone we invite into our home,” Vacarr said. Kripalu’s facilities are planned to re-open on Tuesday, April 24.
On March 9, the Sudbury Board of Health was notified about a Sudbury resident with a presumptive positive test result for COVID-19. “The resident is being treated at a local hospital and is recovering," town officials said in a statement. "Family members are at home in quarantine. There are no known contacts in the Sudbury Public Schools or Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School.”
The Wayland Middle School and Loker Elementary School were closed Wednesday, March 11. “Tonight a Wayland parent of two students, one at Loker and one at the Middle School, informed us that the parent had tested positive for Coronavirus,” Superintendent Arthur Unobskey said in a letter to staff and families. “The parent had been exposed last week and had chosen to self-quarantine since the exposure. The students showed no symptoms of the illness but also self-quarantined beginning Monday of this week.”
Town officials reported two additional presumed positive cases in Wellesley on Monday. “These individuals have been isolating according to MDPH protocol,” officials wrote in a message posted on the town’s website. “Two Wellesley school buildings linked to a presumed case last week have been cleaned and sanitized, and enhanced cleaning efforts continue to be used in all schools and municipal buildings. The Facilities Management Department (FMD) is well-prepared to meet these needs and can support this level of cleaning long-term.”
On March 11 town officials were notified about two additional presumed positive cases of COVID-19 in Wellesley, which brought the total number of cases in town to five. Officials said the two additional cases did not impact Wellesley Public Schools and the individuals were isolated at home.
For the latest updates from Wellesley, visit www.wellesleyma.gov/coronavirusinfo.
The Westwood Council on Aging has canceled its annual St. Patrick’s Day party on March 17. Lina Arena-DeRosa, the director of the council on aging, said the COA facilities and vehicles are being sanitized on a daily basis. Schools Superintendent Emily J. Parks said all school buildings and buses have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. She also asked for residents to keep the schools in the loop. “If you or anyone in your family has travelled recently to (or through) China, Italy, South Korea, Iran or Japan, please call the District Offices at 781-326-7500 x1340 and notify the Superintendent’s Office,” she wrote in a message on the school district’s website. “If you believe you or anyone in your family has had contact with an individual who has been exposed to COVID-19, please call the MA Department of Public Health at 617-983-6500 and your school’s nurse.”
The Whitman-Hanson Regional School District’s facilities department performed a deep cleaning at all school facilities during the February break, and another deep cleaning is scheduled for the weekend of March 14. Additional custodial staff has been brought in to disinfect surfaces, door handles, railings and other “high-touch areas” on a daily basis, school officials said.
Superintendent of Wilmington Public Schools announced that three Wilmington residents were instructed to self-quarantine. Many public events including all happening at the senior center and the Wilmington Memorial Library have been canceled.
Two adults residents have presumptively tested positive for COVID-19 and are "isolating at home and experiencing mild illness,'' the town’s Board of Health said in a statement Tuesday night. The testing was done by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and those results will now be reviewed by the federal Centers for Disease Control to confirm COVID-19 infection.
"All individuals who are considered close contacts of these Winchester residents are being notified by public health officials and will be given appropriate instructions,'' the Board of Health said in the statement. “We recognize that these are trying times. Our thoughts are particularly focused on our family members, friends, and neighbors of a vulnerable age, or who have an underlying condition that puts them at greater risk.”
The two adults in Winchester are among the 92 presumptive cases announced by the state DPH on Tuesday.
"We will continue to provide updates on this rapidly changing situation,'' the Board of Health said.
On March 10 city officials were notified that a student at the Shamrock Elementary School had been in close contact with a person who is presumptive positive. The student, who was asymptomatic, will remain self-quarantined for 14 days. Officials also announced that all field trips are canceled until further notice.
Globe correspondents Caroline Enos, Matt Berg, and Stephanie Purifoy contributed to this report.