WILMINGTON – At the school committee meeting last Wednesday evening, they received updates on high school activities, 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 visit of the NEASC and the National Honor Society students and the mentoring program giving tours, WHS Lamplighters putting 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 division championship. The football team and the marching band ended their seasons at the Thanksgiving game.
The committee approved the finalized goals of the Superintendent from the previous meeting, which were as follows: the respective high school and middle school curriculum reviews, the change in class 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 say that students aged 5 to 11 will no longer be considered close contacts an once they are fully immunized.
He reported that the current number of positive COVID-19 cases in the city is 153, with the majority being school-aged children.
“Earlier in the evening, we learned that we had 40 students tested positive since Sunday,” he said.
These were mainly students from grades 3 to 6. Not only did this have an impact on the close contacts at school; he said it has also led to the quarantine of some youth sports teams.
He went on to share that it is the Board of Health’s belief that this is due to people in the community letting their guard down with wearing a mask and other mitigation measures suggested by the CDC. He reminded those present of the importance of everyone doing their best to reduce the numbers.
School committee member Mr. J. Byrnes asked how the district is monitoring contact tracing. Brand responded that the need has increased and he hopes the nurses who were on leave will return soon. He also suggested getting help from the Board of Health.
One thing Melissa Plowman brought up was that she heard that the district-sponsored immunization clinic was not going well. She said people who had an appointment had to wait longer than two hours and hoped the second dose would go easier.
Brand responded to this question, saying he was aware of issues and similar issues in other communities with the same agency. He said he appreciated the frustration people endured.
His other point was an update on the MSBA process for the New Wildwood School. The Wildwood School Building Committee, he explained, planned to deploy 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 its donation.
After that, Behavioral Health and Social Emotional Support Coordinator Christine Murray explained that the district had received a continuation grant from DESE for this fiscal year that would go towards PBIS initiatives, professional development and enrichment programs. .
Deputy Superintendent of Administration and Finance Paul Ruggiero shared the year-end report of all funds in and out of the school department. The only new items he called out were additional grants related to COVID. Brand commented on Ruggiero’s expertise in making the report in a way that required no discussion.
“We are incredibly lucky to have [Ruggiero] at the head of finance.
In the subcommittee reports, Jay Samaha and the chair, Dr. Jenn Bryson, explained that the fairness subcommittee would consider what a fairness audit should look like and what the district wants. They mentioned that other committee members might check out public audits from other cities or states online for more ideas.
The next meeting will take place on December 15 from 7 p.m.