WILMINGTON — During the School Committee meeting last Wednesday night, they received updates about goings on at the high school, COVID-19, and the end of year report, among other timely topics.
Wilmington High School senior Angelyn Ciampa opened with a high school update. She described the NEASC visit and students in National Honor Society and the mentor program giving tours, WHS Lamplighters putting on Clue, the DECA power trip, and Spirit Week.
She reported two out of the 12 DECA students being recognized for their performance. In sports, the fall season ended with girls varsity soccer in the second round of the playoffs and cross country winning the division championship. The football team and marching band ended their seasons at the Thanksgiving game.
The committee approved the finalized Superintendent Goals from the previous meeting, which were: the respective high school and middle school program reviews, the change of school start times, and the MSBA process for the new Wildwood school.
In his report, Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand mentioned the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education updated their Frequently Asked Questions section to say that students age 5-11 will no longer count as close contacts once they’re fully vaccinated.
He reported that the current COVID-19 positive cases in town to be 153, with a majority being school-aged children.
“Earlier this evening, we learned that we have 40 students who have tested positive since Sunday,” he said.
These were mostly students in grades 3-6. Not only has this had an impact with close contacts in school; he said it’s also led to quarantining some youth sports teams.
He went on to share that it’s the belief of the Board of Health this is due to people in the community letting their guard down with mask wearing and other suggested mitigations from the CDC. He reminded those in the audience the importance of everyone doing their best to keep numbers down.
School Committee member M. J. Byrnes asked how the district was keeping up with contact tracing. Brand responded that the need increased, and he hopes that the nurses who have been out on leave will be coming back soon. He also suggested getting some help from the Board of Health.
One thing Melissa Plowman brought up was she heard that the vaccine clinic the district sponsored didn’t go well. She claimed that people who had appointments were made to wait over two hours and hoped that the second dose might go more smoothly.
Brand did address this, saying he was aware of the issues and of similar issues in other communities with the same agency. He said he appreciated the frustration that folks endured.
His other item was an update on the MSBA process for the new Wildwood school. The Wildwood School Building Committee, he shared, planned on rolling out communications for the next few months before the special Town Meeting to try to glean town support. This would include open houses to show the state of the Wildwood, written communications, and other awareness campaigns. He also thanked the Flutie Foundation for their donation.
After that, Coordinator of Behavioral Health and Social Emotional Support Christine Murray shared that the district received a continuation grant from DESE for this fiscal year that would go toward PBIS initiatives, professional development, and enrichment programs.
Assistant Superintendent of Administration and Finance Paul Ruggiero shared the end of year report of all of the funds that came in and went out from the school department. The only new items he called out were additional COVID-related grants. Brand commented about the expertise of Ruggiero to make the report in a way that required no discussion.
“We’re incredibly fortunate to have [Ruggiero] at the helm of the finances.”
In subcommittee reports, Jay Samaha and Chair Dr. Jenn Bryson discussed that the Equity Subcommittee would be looking into what an equity audit should look like and what the district would want out of it. They mentioned that other committee members could look online to public audits from other towns or other states for more ideas.
The next meeting will be on Dec. 15th starting at 7 p.m.