Message from the Superintendent Regarding COVID-19 Data - October 1, 2020

Dear Shrewsbury Families, Colleagues, & Community Members,

I am writing with an update regarding COVID-19 statistics related to our school district.

Currently, we have identified the following positive cases in our school district.  These cases represent a mix of staff and students; please note that, to help maintain strict confidentiality, public health officials have asked that we not identify whether cases represent a student or a staff member.
 

Chart showing positive coronavirus cases by school

Note: All cases were communicated to district staff and families via email, except one case included for SHS was identified prior to the individual attending school at the start of the year.  COVID-19 communications can be found at https://schools.shrewsburyma.gov/district/coronavirus-information

We are monitoring other statistics related to COVID-19 as well, which will be used to determine whether any future changes to our current approach could be warranted.  Please note that state officials have indicated that communities should consider data trends over at least three weekly reports (containing four weeks of data) when making decisions.  Key statistics include:

  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health color-coded metric for average daily cases per 100,000 people over 14 days
  • Number of daily cases in Shrewsbury
  • Percentage of positive tests relative to 5% benchmark

The statistics from the most recent weekly state report and town report are displayed at the end of this message.  Note that due to an increase in cases, Shrewsbury is now at the lowest threshold of the “yellow” rating with an average of 4.0 daily cases per 100,000 people (placing our town in the 4.0-8.0 range, or “moderate risk”).  This is an increase from 2.4 last week.  

As always, it is the whole community’s responsibility to “stop the spread” by taking steps to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19.  In school, we are closely adhering to wearing masks, physically distancing, and frequently washing/sanitizing hands.  Please help us move our numbers back down by adhering to these sensible strategies throughout the community.  The number of cases among ages 19 and under in town increased by six in the past week, increasing the ratio of total cases from 5.8% to 6.3%.  Let’s not have this become a trend: Families are asked to use their good judgment related to their children’s social interactions by limiting the size of group interactions, ensuring that masks are used when appropriate, etc.  In addition to our continued request to not allow high school students to congregate at parties, we are also asking for help from our middle school families.  Last week there were large groups of middle school students who walked to the center of town after school on Friday, where many witnessed close gatherings of students without masks.  I strongly discourage families allowing their children to congregate in large groups while we are fighting the spread of the virus.  Thank you for your assistance with this.

As always, thank you for your support of our schools.  Given the unique circumstances of this school year, I especially appreciate everything you do to help our town minimize the spread of COVID-19 in order to keep our community safe and maintain the option of in-person learning for our students.

Respectfully,

Joe Sawyer
Superintendent of Schools
 

COVID-19 DATA

Map illustrating Shrewsbury 14-Day Cases per 100K people as of 9-30-20

 

Shrewsbury 14-Day Positive Test Rate

(vs. 5.0% Benchmark)

Graph showing Shrewsbury 14-day positivity rate through 9/30/20

 

Town of Shrewsbury Weekly Reporty

One-Week Increase = +18 (Total Cases = 411)

Distribution by Age

Town of Shrewsbury Weekly Report Data showing age and number of cases

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