Thursday 8/20 COVID-19 Updates

As of today, there are 1,269 Cambridge residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 99 residents have passed away. Learn more here. There are 115,310 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. 2,009,062 patients have been tested, and 9,657 have passed away. Learn more here.

 

Cambridge Updates

Fall Return to Cambridge Public Schools:  Superintendent Kenneth Salim has announced an updated timeline for the start of school:

  • Family conferences will be scheduled during September
  • September 16: All students will begin the year with remote learning (at home)
  • October 13: In-person learning will begin, for eligible families that choose it

This delayed start for in-person (at school) learning will provide more time to address the complex staffing and scheduling decisions for in-person learning, necessary planning and training, as well as the contingencies outlined in the re-opening plan.

Learn more:

  • The superintendent will host a virtual Town Hall on Friday, 8/21, at 5PM
  • You can share your questions to cps@cpsd.us
  • Learn more at the CPS Back-to-School planning page
  • Watch for information from your school’s principal about school information sessions in the coming weeks.

 

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day:  The City of Cambridge is sponsoring a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day on Saturday, August 22, 2020, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., 65 Waverly St., Cambridge. This event is free and open to Cambridge residents (proof of residency required).  Please review the procedures and precautions that will be in effect for this event as part of the COVID-19 operations. These changes can be found here.

Voting:  Cambridge Election Commission updated the hours of the Ballot Drop Box at  51 Inman St., from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily. Last week the Commission announced the relocation of 14 polling sites in response to COVID-19. If a voter’s polling site has been relocated, the new polling location will be in the same ward and precinct or near their regular polling place. There will be signs posted at the regular polling sites directing voters to the temporary polling sites as well. You can find a polling place map and a polling place PDF on the City’s website.

Bluebikes:  The City of Cambridge continues to offer free 90-day Bluebikes passes to essential workers employed at grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and local retail shops. Those with passes can take as many trips as they would like during the 90-day period. Register here.

 

Where to get tested: 

During the month of August there will be free mobile testing for Cambridge residents provided by the Cambridge Public Health Department at the following locations:

  • Field House at Russell Field (Rindge Ave) will offer testing Wednesday 8/19 and Wednesday 8/26 from 10AM – 8PM
  • The Pisani Center (131 Washington St) will offer testing on Saturday, 8/22 and Saturday, 8/29 from 11AM – 7PM

To schedule an appointment, call 617-665-3795 or sign-up online.

If you are feeling symptomatic and feel the need to get tested sooner, you can call your primary care provider to make an appointment to be tested.

 

Translation Resources Available: 

Multilingual city resources and information on COVID-19 are available on the City’s multilingual help page.

 

State Action Updates

Governor Baker Press Conference Updates:

As many school districts prepare to welcome students to some form of in-classroom education, Governor Baker announced the development of a new rapid response testing program for COVID-19 that could be accessed by schools throughout the state if they meet specific criteria indicating a possible outbreak of the virus. School districts will be expected to consult with their local public health authority before requesting testing assistance from the state. Officials from the state’s Department of Public Health and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education are expected to release more specific program parameters in the coming weeks.

The Governor reported that 314 of the state’s 351 cities and towns “are experiencing next to no viral spread” and fall into the state’s two lowest risk categories.  Seventy percent of districts are planning to conduct some sort of in-classroom education this fall.

 

Flu Vaccine Required to Attend Child Care, K-12, College & University

State public health officials announced that influenza immunization will be required for all children 6 months of age or older who are attending Massachusetts child care, pre-school, kindergarten, K-12, and colleges and universities. The new vaccine requirement is an important step to reduce flu-related illness and ​the overall impact of respiratory illness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students will be expected to have received a flu vaccine by December 31, 2020 for the 2020-2021 influenza season, unless either a medical or religious exemption is provided. Also exempted are K-12 students who are homeschooled and higher education students who are completely off-campus and engaged in remote learning only.

This new flu immunization requirement to enter school in January is in addition to existing vaccine requirements for all those attending child care, preschool, K-12, and colleges and universities in Massachusetts. Elementary and secondary students in districts and schools that are using a remote education model are not exempt. The updated table of immunization requirements for the upcoming school year can be found at www.mass.gov/doc/immunization-requirements-for-school-entry-0/download.

  • All children at least 6 months old who attend child care or preschool must be immunized in accordance with the ACIP Recommended Immunization Schedule.
  • All students in K-12 must receive the seasonal influenza vaccine annually by December 31.
  • New students entering between January 1 and March 31 must have received a dose of vaccine for the current flu season before entry. Depending on the child’s age and flu vaccination history, a second dose of flu vaccine in the same season may be recommended. In these cases, the second dose is not required for school entry.
  • For older students, the flu vaccine requirement applies to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students under 30 years of age and all full- and part-time health science students.
  • The requirement includes individuals from outside the U.S. attending or visiting classes or educational programs in Massachusetts as part of an academic visitation or exchange program.
  • College students who attend any classes or activities on campus, even once, must be vaccinated by December 31.
  • The only exception is for college and university students who exclusively attend classes online and never visit campus in person.

More information can be found here.

 

Where to Give

On Fridays throughout August, Cambridge CoHousing will be collecting food for the Chelsea Collaborative. Drop off is between 10 AM to 4PM at 175 Richdale Ave, the entrance to CoHousing, either in a paper bag or small box. If you don’t see someone at the moment you come, please leave it just inside the gate where we will have boxes marked “For Chelsea.”

If you are able to give to others during this time, I encourage you to look to the following places that are working to help those most affected by COVID-19:

Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund

Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Community Foundation

Food for Free

Greater Boston Food Bank

Cradles to Crayons Emergency Essentials Fund

Enroot Emergency Immigrant Cash Assistance Fund

Mount Auburn Hospital

The One Chelsea Fund

I also encourage you to donate to the following organizations that are engaging in racial justice work:

Louis D. Brown Peace Institute

Families for Justice as Healing

Prisoners’ Legal Services

Boston NAACP

Massachusetts Bail Fund

ACLU of Massachusetts

Union of Minority Neighborhoods

 

As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.

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