Southborough reports a spate of COVID-19 cases in Woodward

Woodward Elementary School is located at 28 Cordaville Road, Southborough. (Photo/Ben Domaingue)

SOUTHBOROUGH – Southborough Public School has reported a cluster of COVID-19 cases at Woodward Elementary School.

“While we’d like to think COVID is in our rear-view mirror, unfortunately it’s still here,” said Mary Ellen Duggan, Director of Wellness, during the Southborough School Committee meeting on September 14.

She reported that there was a cluster of COVID-19 cases in Woodward.

“Fortunately, it was self-limiting and we haven’t had any new cases in this cluster since September 7,” Duggan said.

Woodward has had a total of 24 cases so far in the school year ended Sept. 16, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Specifically, between August 31 and September 2, there were a total of five cases — four cases among staff and one in third graders. Between September 5 and September 9 there were 19 cases in total – six in second graders, nine in third graders and four among staff. Five of the nine third-grade cases were in a classroom, according to the dashboard.

No cases were reported between September 12 and September 16.

All schools in Northborough and Southborough have had 116 COVID-19 cases so far this year.

reduction remains

Regarding COVID-19 containment, Duggan said HEPA filters are still in classrooms and the district recommends opening windows and wearing masks if the person has symptoms or is returning from isolation or exposure.

Duggan said the district relies on staff and students to stay home if they have symptoms.

“There are many mitigating factors, but staying home when you’re symptomatic is one of the most important,” Duggan said.

Test kits are available at schools, the library, the senior center, city hall and through health departments, according to Duggan. The district asks people who have tested positive to report this.

She said COVID-19 vaccines are still “important” to prevent serious illness and hospitalization. She noted that Northborough and Southborough Health Boards have scheduled refresher clinics for residents aged 12 and over on September 23, September 27 and October 7 at the Northborough Senior Centre.

For more information about the clinics, visit https://www.nsboro.k12.ma.us/domain/1143.

Meanwhile, the District Medical Advisory Team has continued to meet to discuss “what if” situations, including possible steps to take should cases rise.

“Our focus right now is prevention with an emphasis on mental health with programs for our students, parents and staff,” Duggan said.

A “normal” start to the school year

During the school board meeting, district staff reflected on the changes from the previous school year related to COVID-19.

Duggan said they had a “great” start to the school year.

“As [Superintendent Greg Martineau] and the directors said everything seemed a little more normal after the last two crazy years,” she said.

Duggan noted that at this time last school year, the district was still conducting contact tracing, quarantining for 14 days, and setting up testing and whereabouts locations.

“It’s really a whole new, normal start to the year,” Duggan said. “Rather normal, but just as busy.”

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