Reading, MA — Reading Public Schools had fewer cases of COVID-19 this week than it has had in previous weeks. Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Doherty attributes this success to the decision to go remote the week of January 4th – 8th, as well as to efforts on the part of staff, students, and parents to help slow the spread. Doherty detailed the new COVID-19 cases as well as other updates in a January 17th Pathways blog post.
There are currently ten new COVID-19 cases within RPS, with the majority of those affecting students who were learning remotely when they tested positive. Three RMHS students tested positive, and while each of the students were learning remotely, they were all in-season athletes, leading to nine other student-athletes being asked to quarantine.
“Unfortunately, this results in one of our teams being quarantined until 1/21,” stated Doherty in the blog post.
The other new COVID-19 cases affected two students at Coolidge, four elementary school students (involving Joshua Eaton, Birch Meadow, and Killiam), and one RMHS staff member. While all the students were remote at the time, the staff member was not, leading to the quarantining of four staff and two students at RMHS.
The blog post also detailed that school nurses within the Reading Public Schools recently received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are pleased to announce that our school nurses have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination along with our Reading first responders. Our nurses will be assisting in administering the vaccine to the community and to the schools,” stated Doherty.
This past Friday, RPS staff participated in a professional development day focused on “Resiliency and Support in COVID impacted classrooms.” The workshops, organized by Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Teaching Chris Kelley and the Professional Development Committee, focused on cultural proficiency, uncovering implicit bias, challenging conversations on race and racism, youth mental health, and other topics.
The work that was done on Friday aligns with one of our goals in our current district improvement plan that focuses on equity and social justice practices and the social and emotional well-being of all students. Public schools need to provide safe places for all students to have discussion and dialog about issues of public concern such as equity and social justice. These professional development days provide the support and training needed to have those discussions and dialog,” stated Doherty.