TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Board of Health met on Sept. 16, 2021 for its regular meeting. Member Tony Boschetti joined the meeting remotely.
Chairperson Ray Barry questioned the actual execution of the board’s motion on the wearing of masks for students in the Tewksbury Public Schools from their Aug. 18 minutes. The board met prior to the School Committee meeting regarding the same topic.
Barry was not sure that the motion was seconded. Barry suggested members check their records to be sure if the motion was seconded or not. The board agreed to table approval of the minutes until the next meeting.
[Author’s note: The recorded meeting by Tewksbury Telemedia, available on the town’s YouTube channel, shows the motion made by member Robert Scarano, to poll the individual members on their preference for children to start the school year with or without a mask. The committee went straight into a roll call vote, with Boschetti, Scarano and Roux voting against masks, and Barry and Zaroulis voting for masks; the motion was not seconded.]
Scarano asked for the approval of the minutes of the Aug. 19 meeting of the board tabled until the next meeting, as well.
The board discussed the requirement for a body art apprentice from Route 38 Tattoo to make an appearance in front of the board to be revisited. Barry reviewed the requirement of the board for applicants to have a meet and greet, with follow up by Boschetti, who conducts a verbal quiz.
Barry said that Route 38 Tattoo has engaged a training company, Wallace Training Associates, which was equivalent to other skin training courses available. The board had instituted the practice as there had been a question of standardization of quality of training.
The board would like to discontinue the in-person requirement as long as applicants are going through Wallace, and have Health Director Shannon Sullivan approve applicants based on their proof of training.
Sullivan discussed the Public Health Excellence grant for Shared Services. The $350,000 grant provides three years of state funding for a public health nurse and a health inspector. The grant is shared between Tewksbury, Tyngsboro and Billerica.
Since Billerica already has a nurse, Tyngsboro and Tewksbury will share a nurse, with 20 hours funded in each community. The additional inspector would help with food and housing inspections, along with general complaints.
Sullivan reported that she has received eight public health nurse and six inspector applications. The town had previously contracted a food inspector for a one-time pass through all of the establishments in the community, as COVID-19 duties took regular staff away from these tasks.
Tewksbury has also gone seven months without a town nurse. Sullivan explained that the town nurse role has always been part-time for 20 hours, but sharing the job with Tyngsboro makes it full-time and more attractive.
Sullivan could not provide the food consultant update at the meeting due to computer issues of the consultant.
Sullivan reviewed COVID-19 data for Tewksbury and discussed case counts, which are on the rise. Sullivan said that the state is tracking breakthrough cases. The numbers indicate that breakthrough cases are also on the rise. Sullivan did explain that the state does not distinguish whether those in the case counts are vaccinated or not.
Sullivan announced that the senior center will be hosting a vaccination clinic for those ages 12 and up on Friday, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and no appointment is necessary.
Sullivan announced that the keeping of animals permit and the piggery permit for Oliveira farm has been suspended indefinitely. The farm has until the end of day on Sept. 21 to remove the animals from the property. Animals will be removed to FLAME Livestock Auction in Littleton except for two horses, which are pets. It is not clear where the horses will be surrendered at this time.
Member Maria Zaroulis asked who would be supervising the removal and Sullivan said that Tewksbury’s Animal control officers will be monitoring the removal of the animals.
Sullivan said that Central Mass Mosquito control is continuing to offer free spraying of resident yards for mosquitoes. As of the meeting, there were six cases of West Nile virus reported in Essex and Middlesex country. Sullivan said that Tewksbury is in the low risk range at this time.
Barry said that September is Emergency Preparedness Month, and that now is a good time to be sure emergency generators are working and to be sure to operate them outside and away from windows. It was also suggested to buy an inexpensive thermometer to be sure food stays at safe temperature levels should there be a power outage.
Barry referenced the state website for emergency preparedness kit list. Member Scarano offered that with the significant rain we’ve had, it is time to address down spouts and be sure water is going away from the house and also test sump pumps.