Here is a recap of Wellesley Public School news from this week’s school committee meeting:
The bias reporting system is back
Supt. Dr. David Lussier recently temporarily rolled back the school system’s bias-based reporting procedures, which are designed to protect students and staff, but have been criticized by some members of the school community for being too broad. WPS has reviewed its procedures to ensure they are in line with recent case law.
Vax numbers soar
Vaccination rates for Wellesley Public School staff were revealed at the November 16 school committee meeting (see the 2 hour and 44 minute mark of Wellesley Media Recording) disappointed many in the school community. The board of health also had questions.
Although school officials have stressed that the figures reported are based on those who responded to surveys. If someone hadn’t responded yet, they were marked as unvaccinated at this time. Without a vaccination mandate, it’s really hard to get full numbers, said director of nursing Ashley Hulme.
Hulme told the meeting that 70.4% of his staff at Wellesley High (including teachers, administration, facilities, catering, etc.) were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a survey sent in September (Lussier said that among school teachers and administrators, the number was well over 70.4%). She added that 85% of the 1,400 students were fully vaccinated, making 82.9% of the total population fully vaccinated. Only 50% of college staff were reported to be completely vaxxed.
Since that meeting, the schools have implemented what Lussier described as a “comprehensive press” to entice more people to complete the survey.
Revealing updated numbers at the Nov. 30 school committee meeting (see the 19-minute mark of the Wellesley Media Recording), Hulme began with “now doesn’t it look better everyone?” She praised the nursing staff for “encouraging” everyone to complete the vaccination status survey.
The numbers will only increase from here as more people report, as those who did not report are currently marked as unvaccinated.
The states The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has extended the masking mandate in public schools until January 15but some districts require waivers to abandon the mandate due to the high number of vaccines.
Missing the national guard
The week before Thanksgiving was the last time the school system received help from the National Guard to run the COVID-19 surveillance testing program in schools. The Guard has played a key role in helping schools in light of state resources that have not arrived as originally promised, Lussier said. “Our state partner has been incredibly inconsistent in providing staff and getting staff to show up on time,” he said, noting that consistency is key as withdrawal of children from classes to get dabbed must be choreographed with precision to avoid so many disruptions to learning. as possible.
Nurses triaged as well as possible, Lussier said. In the meantime, the school system has lobbied for more support from the Guard, but may have to change supervision schedules without that help.