(EDITOR’S NOTE: Well this column didn’t age well. Schools Superintendent Peter Schafer announced Monday afternoon the school’s would be fully remote for the next two weeks.
It’s Halloween week so be ready for stories designed to scare, startle and frighten.
BEWARE! Of the country and state’s rising COVID-19 rates! WATCH OUT! for the coming avalanche of last-minute political campaign messaging ahead of Election Day. WHAT’S THAT SOUND AGAINST THE WINDOW?! It’s just the Community Preservation Committee considering projects for next year…
Personal preference may dictate how much the rising COVID-19 numbers scare you. But for public health officials, doctors, epidemiologists, and scientists the dashboard on a third wave is blinking red. Massachusetts in recent days has seen its largest number of positive COVID-19 tests since the spring. Two weeks ago, Abington’s case number stoof at 38. Week it dropped down to eight. Today, the Board of Health announced the number was back up to 18.
Over the weekend, parents and guardians of school-age children received a pair of emails from Superintendent Peter Shaffer alerting them that four more school community members had tested positive — and some of those being quarantined for close contact included students.
Abington News asked Schafer whether parents should feel comfortable sending their kids to school, considering the news from over the weekend. He said: “To date, all information has indicated that the exposures that have caused quarantine have not been from a spread in school. Although there are no absolutes, as long as we continue not to be the cause of a spread and the source can be isolated, in consultation with the Director of Health, we hope to remain open.”
Then he added: “All of that could change at any moment.”
With the pandemic lingering in the background, Abington’s youngsters will once again take to the streets Saturday night in their annual campaign to secure free candy from neighbors. To be clear, the town is not able to cancel Halloween anymore than it’s able to cancel Christmas or Easter or St. Swithin’s Day. Some communities, have prohibited Trick or Treating — but Abington is not one of them. The Abington Board of Health, however, has issued some recommendations considering the CDC and state Department of Public Health consider Trick or Treating a “high risk” activity.
Most of the recommendations are pretty common sense: a costume mask does not replace a real face covering; please don’t yell trick-or-treat in a neighbor’s face; don’t swap candy with someone who’s been exposed to COVID-19; and no indoor gatherings of more than 25 people. The board of health also suggested placing out pre-packaged bags of candy that kids can grab. Oh, and parents, please don’t eat pieces of candy while walking down the street; candy, ideally, should be set aside for three days so it can disinfect.
(Will the weather cooperate for Saturday night’s annual event? That’s to be determined. But as of now, it looks promising.)
Election Day is now eight days away. Voting will take place again at Emerald Hall between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Although there are only a couple competitive races on the local ballot, the Presidential race and the two ballot questions may produce some last-minute political mailings, ads, commercials, stand outs, and phone calls.
Town Clerk Leanne Adams said she’s mailed out 3,500 ballots (to those who requested one) and already more than 1,700 people have voted early. That means Abington is on pace to easily surpass turnout for 2016, when 5,400 people cast ballots.
Adams said while she’s seen some regulars voting early, she’s also seeing many new faces, eager to weigh in on this election. Some of those early voters are parents of school-age children wary of getting a phone call on November 3rd saying their family is now in quarantine from being a close contact.
Early voting remains open for any registered voter through Friday (hours listed below).
(And for those wondering, the town clerk’s office is able to track anyone who sends in a mail-in ballot and also shows up to vote in person.)
It’s a light meeting schedule this week with only the Finance Committee and Community Preservation Committee meeting. The Finance Committee is considering a transfer from the town’s reserve fund. The Community Preservation Committee is reviewing all submitted projects seeking Community Preservation Act funds, including additional improvements to Plymouth Street Little League Field, as well as the butterfly garden on Central Street, and a plan to tear down the Beaver Brook Playground and replace it with something new.
For those who missed it, Special Town Meeting did not pull a quorum last Monday night and was postponed until Nov. 17. Selectmen will be holding a public hearing and a vote at its Nov. 9 meeting in order to reduce the needed quorum from 150 to a lower number.
Community Preservation Committee, 7 p.m., Town Hall. Agenda includes discussing proposed FY ‘21 projects.
Finance Committee, 7 p.m., viz Zoom. Agenda includes a requested reserve fund transfer.
EARLY VOTING HOURS
Monday, October 26: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, October 27: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 28: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 29: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Friday, October 30: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
GREEN WAVE VARSITY SCHEDULE
Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. vs Randolph @ Memorial Field
Saturday, 9 a.m., @ Cohasset @ Wheelright Park
Thursday, 4 p.m. @ Norwell
Thursday, 4 p.m. vs. Norwell
Friday, 4 p.m. vs. South Shore Christian Academy
Monday, 3:30 p.m. vs. Mashpee @ Strawberry Valley Golf Course
Wednesday, 3 p.m. vs. Carver at Strawberry Valley Golf Course