Three of Hingham’s elementary schools report COVID-19 cases following long holiday weekend

December 1, 2021 By Carol Britton Meyer

Following the Thanksgiving break, Plymouth River, East, and South schools reported a number of new COVID-19 cases.

In response, close contacts of those who tested positive were notified (in the case of students, their parents were or were in the process of, being notified as of Tuesday morning).

There were multiple positive tests at PRS, three in the East school community, and six at South, according to emails sent to parents, guardians, and staff on Tuesday.

Although specific information about which school community members tested positive could not be shared for privacy reasons, parents and guardians who received the email were told that their children were not a close contact of the affected school member.

Parents of students who were identified as being in close contact with the school community members who tested positive were notified privately and told that they would receive another communication from the school shortly.

"Please continue to monitor your child for symptoms and keep your child home if he/she/they show any symptoms or are not feeling well," the emails stated.

The notification from the East and PRS administration -- Interim Principal Amanda Donovan and Interim Principal Gregory Lamothe, respectively -- also indicated that administrators "have been planning for this scenario and have a comprehensive plan in place to utilize COVID-19 testing, inform families whose students were at risk of exposure or in close contact, and support the affected family as they navigate this stressful experience."

The email from South School Principal Mary Eastwood indicated that the individuals who tested positive were in quarantine and that all close contacts had been notified.
Eastwood encouraged parents and guardians to continue to encourage their children to wear face masks in school buildings and on school buses "so that our village stays healthy and strong."

Interim Supt. of Schools Gary Maestas told the Hingham Anchor that he expects there to potentially be further increases in the number of COVID-19 cases, based on preliminary statistics showing a spike in the number of positive test results in the Commonwealth.

"We need to continue to follow protocols to keep our kids [and staff] safe in our buildings," he said.  "So far, that has worked in the district, but while we have been able to manage the number of COVID cases in the schools, when that base is expanded [to outside of the schools, students and staff] are exposed to more people. We need to determine how to monitor that [scenario] and how to move forward."

Maestas is encouraging all members of the school community to continue to social distance, find the best way to manage large-group settings, wear face masks, and to continue with regular handwashing practices, along with other safety and health protocols.

"This is like a rerun of last year," he said. "We need to keep reminding ourselves to work collaboratively to keep our schools open."

Note, this story has been updated, a previous version erroneously reported there was one positive case at PRS.

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