Milton school officials were “saddened and disappointed” after a large group of teenagers gathered near a golf course Friday night and did not adhere to COVID-19 health guidelines, school officials said in a statement Sunday.
The teenagers were reported to have gathered near the Presidents Golf Course, close to the Milton and Quincy town line, according to a joint statement from James Jette, high school principal and interim superintendent, and Sheila Egan Varela, School Committee chairwoman.
“This news is upsetting to us,” the officials said. Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is “a multi-community effort that requires all of us to continue stepping up, making sacrifices and staying safe.”
There is no evidence the gathering was initiated or attended by Milton High School students, but “we are asking all parents, guardians, and teens in Milton and our bordering communities to take this pandemic seriously,” school officials said.
The Milton public schools have about 4,430 students and 310 teachers.
In an interview with WCVB-TV on Saturday, Jette said he heard that students and parents affiliated with the school were involved with the gathering.
“To hear that parents and guardians are dropping their children off at this place to party or, you know, convene in large gatherings is very disappointing,” Jette said in the interview.
Students in the district returned to school Sept. 16 with a hybrid learning model, alternating between lessons in the classroom and online. School officials said Sunday that the behavior seen at the gathering “will only jeopardize Milton’s … protocol, as well as other public school districts’ and private schools’ plans.”
“We saw it in Dedham; we saw it in Sudbury,” Jette told WCVB, referring to recent gatherings with high school students in the towns. “We were trying to be proactive and get ahead of the curve, so it’s very disappointing because this jeopardizes our opportunity to remain in hybrid, and ultimately trying to be optimistic to move for full in-person learning.”
A Milton Police Department spokesman could not be reached for comment.
In recent weeks, numerous large gatherings involving teenagers who broke COVID-19 health guidelines have thrown school districts into disarray, forcing high schools to quickly reevaluate their in-person learning models.
The Milton party comes less than a week after a student from Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School and the parents of that student, whose identities were not released because the student is a juvenile, faced charges stemming from a gathering of 50 to 60 students. As a result of the large gathering, the high school pushed back in-person classes.
Dover-Sherborn Regional High School temporarily shifted to a fully remote learning model after a party on Sept. 11 attracted as many as 150 high school-aged students from public and private schools in the region.
Earlier in the month, town health officials in Dedham blamed a rise in coronavirus cases on two social gatherings hosted by young people in town, one of which was attended by local high school students.
Matt Berg can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattberg33.