Reading, MA – Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Doherty announced in a Pathways blog post on December 30th that all students within the Reading Public Schools system will be moved to remote learning for the week of January 4th to January 8th. The move comes after 21 new coronavirus cases have been reported within the Reading Public Schools since December 24th. The new cases have affected students and staff at RMHS, Coolidge Middle School, Joshua Eaton, Barrows, Killam, and RISE.
“Since December 24th, we have been informed that there have been 21 positive cases, including eight at RMHS, two at Coolidge, three at Eaton, one at Barrows, one at Killam, 2 RISE, and four staff. This is on top of increases from the week before, which caused the High School to go remote,” said Doherty in the blog post.
Doherty stated that the cases discovered between December 24th and December 30th make-up 5.6% of the overall ctudents returned to school in mid-September. According to the most recent report by the Reading Board of Health, there are currently 389 active cases in the town of Reading. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 965 COVID-19 cases within the town of Reading.
“Given the increase in the number of cases this past week and the increase in positive cases across local communities, we will be going fully remote next week for all students, including high needs, kindergarten, and RISE Preschool. In addition, all in-person extra-curricular activities and athletics have been canceled until further notice beginning tomorrow, December 31st. We realize that this may create some challenges for families, so we wanted to give you as much lead time as possible to prepare and make any necessary arrangements,” said Doherty in the blog post.
This marks the first time since last spring that all RPS students, including those with high needs, will be asked to learn remotely. Doherty went on to ask families to continue practicing necessary social distancing and safety measures in the face of increasing cases.
“This includes wearing masks, keeping 6-foot distancing, and maintaining proper hand hygiene. Many of the cases recorded for our staff and students is when these precautions have not been followed,” said Doherty.