December 8, 2020 by Carol Britton Meyer
Following four recent positive COVID-19 cases, Supt. of Schools Paul Austin made the decision for Plymouth River School to go remote yesterday and today.
In an email to the Hingham Public Schools community tonight, Austin said that PRS will remain fully remote through this Friday, Dec. 11, after consulting with the Hingham Health Department, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Massachusetts Department of Education.
"In addition, MDPH has agreed to deploy the state’s [COVID] Rapid Response Testing Unit to PRS on Friday," Austin said in the email. "Members of the PRS community should expect to receive additional information from building administrators regarding testing protocols."
In a letter to PRS families tonight, Principal Melissa Smith explained that the "cluster" of COVID-19 cases appears to have been contained to grade 5. "COVID-19 tests are still pending, which supports the decision to remain in the remote learning platform," the email -- which was also signed by Assistant Principal Charleen Fabrizio and School Nurse Deb Whiting -- states.
Because up to 90 people can be tested, free COVID-19 testing will be offered to any fifth-grade student and staff member. A separate email with details will be sent to Grade 5 families.
With these precautions in place, Austin said he fully expects that PRS students and staff will be able to return to hybrid learning on Monday, December 14.
"I encourage everyone to remain vigilant, both in and out of school, and to continue to make efforts to be physically distant, follow safety protocols, and wear face masks," he stated.
The Hingham Health Department has a contact tracing program in place in accordance with state requirements, which involves notifying those who have come into contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, with accompanying quarantine and testing measures in place.