WILMINGTON — At the school committee meeting last Wednesday night, they received updates on high school events, COVID-19 and the year-end report, among other hot topics.
Wilmington High School Angelyn Ciampa opened with a high school update. She described the NEASC tour and National Honor Society students and mentorship program offering tours, WHS Lamplighters featuring Clue, the DECA power trip and Spirit Week.
She reported that two of the 12 DECA students were recognized for their performance. In sports, the fall season ended with women’s varsity soccer in the second round of the playoffs and cross country winning the divisional championship. The football team and marching band ended their seasons at the Thanksgiving game.
The committee approved the Superintendent’s finalized goals from the previous meeting, namely: the respective high school and college curriculum reviews, changing school start times, and the MSBA process for the new Wildwood school.
In his report, Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand mentioned that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has updated its Frequently Asked Questions section to indicate that students between the ages of 5 and 11 will no longer be considered close contacts once once they are fully vaccinated.
He reported that the current positive cases of COVID-19 in the city are 153, with the majority being school-aged children.
“Earlier tonight we learned that we have 40 students who have tested positive since Sunday,” he said.
They were mainly students in grades 3 to 6. Not only has this impacted close contact at school; he said it also led to some youth sports teams being quarantined.
He went on to say that it is the Health Board’s belief that this is due to community members letting their guard down with the wearing of masks and other mitigation measures suggested by the CDC. He reminded those present of the importance for everyone to do their best to limit the numbers.
School committee member MJ Byrnes asked how the district is tracking contact tracing. Brand replied that the need is growing and he hopes nurses who have been furloughed will return soon. He also suggested getting help from the Board of Health.
One thing Melissa Plowman brought up was that she had heard that the district-sponsored vaccination clinic had not gone well. She said people with appointments had to wait more than two hours and hoped the second dose would go more smoothly.
Brand responded to this, saying he was aware of similar issues and problems in other communities with the same agency. He said he enjoyed the frustration people were enduring.
His other post was an update on the MSBA process for the new school in Wildwood. The Wildwood School Building Committee, he shared, planned to roll out communications over the next few months ahead of the special town meeting to try to glean support from the town. This would include open houses to show the state of Wildwood, written communications and other awareness campaigns. He also thanked the Flutie Foundation for their donation.
After that, Behavioral Health and Social-Emotional Support Coordinator Christine Murray shared that the district received a continuation grant from DESE for this exercise that would go toward PBIS initiatives, professional development, and enrichment programs. .
Assistant Superintendent of Administration and Finance Paul Ruggiero shared the year-end report of all funds that came in and out of the school department. The only new items he called for were additional COVID-related grants. Brand commented on Ruggiero’s expertise in reporting in a way that requires no discussion.
“We are incredibly lucky to have [Ruggiero] head of finance.
In the subcommittee reports, Jay Samaha and chair Dr. Jenn Bryson explained that the equity subcommittee would review what an equity audit should look like and what the district would expect from it. They mentioned that other committee members could look online for public audits from other cities or other states for more ideas.
The next meeting will take place on December 15 at 7:00 p.m.