WEEK AHEAD: Opening up more; selectmen, housing trust, school boards meet; soccer, football, lifeguard signups open

Good news! After a year of darkness, Abington’s indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas, and ballparks can open as of today to spectators, up to 21% their traditional capacity.

Massachusetts has moved into Phase 4 of its reopening plan, which also includes increasing the number of people allowed to gather indoors up to 100, and 150 if the gathering is outdoors. That rule doesn’t apply, however, to gatherings at private residences – the state says only 10 people can party indoors, and 25 outdoors. 

One of the biggest changes is that the Baker Administration is downgrading its “travel ban” to a “travel advisory.” Instead of mandating anyone who travels out of state to quarantine when they return, they are now  “advised” to. Bay Staters can also now enjoy day trips to other states without quarantining. Anyone who’s fully vaccinated can travel all they’d like. So consider yourself advised.  

It seems that our collective pandemic fever has broken and we’re on the road to recovery. However, we are still seeing reminders that this virus, and particularly its variants, is out there, dangerous, and highly communicable. The state says 33 people died from COVID-19 yesterday — and that’s a good day.  A cheerleading event in Weymouth resulted in more than 37 positive cases in towns all around Abington. God knows what’s going to happen in popular Spring Break areas, such as Miami, where revelers apparently think it’s 2019.

Abington Public Health Director Marty Golightly said residents should still abide by the standard rules: wear a mask in public, stay 6 feet apart, and for the love of God, don’t go out if you’re not feeling well.

“As for concerns, I worry about apathy and fatigue leading to people not taking precautions seriously or letting their guard down,” he told Abington News.

Golightly also encouraged residents to look for, and then take, the first available vaccination appointment they can find.

NORTH QUINCY STREET

Tonight’s selectmen’s meeting should be interesting, as they discuss conditions at 267 North Quincy St., which has been the subject of an increasing number of concerns and complaints from residents about the growing inventory of stuff of the site.

Town officials had already put the wheels in motion to start investigating the 20-acre site before a worker was killed on the property Wednesday. Town Manager Scott Lambiase is expected to have some additional details at tonight’s meeting, including initial enforcement actions that are underway. 

Our coverage of the issue brought out a range of interesting responses, including a higher than expected number of people with lax views on possible wetlands contamination. There were also concerns voiced that selectmen were being unfair to the minority business owners operating on the site, as well as conspiring to take the land to build more condos. These concerned citizens will have an opportunity to share these concerns further during tonight’s meeting, which will take place at town hall.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

With in-person classes set to resume full-time in two weeks (for grades K-8; 9-12 start a week later), the School Committee is expected to reveal more details about how everything will work at their meeting Tuesday. Background materials are available online. The CDC officially revised its guidance recently to say students only need to be located 3 feet apart instead of 6 feet, which will help the school department fit full rosters inside classrooms. The school committee has also apparently reached an agreement with the Abington Education Association over the updated working conditions. 

YOUTH SOCCER

Abington Youth Soccer has registration often for spring development programs for players starting at age 3 and continuing through 2nd grade.

More information is available here

ABINGTON FLAG FOOTBALL

Registration is also open for the Abington Flag Football program. More information for this program is available here

LIFEGUARDS WANTED

In another sign that summer is coming, the Abington Parks & Recreation Department is now hiring lifeguards for the Island Grove pool. More details here. 

MEETINGS

MONDAY

Board of Selectmen, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall. The agenda includes a discussion about 267 North Quincy St., and a liquor license application for Ole Ole Cantina.

TUESDAY

Affordable Housing Trust, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall. The agenda includes nominating a chairperson and vice-chair, discussing term limits, and reviewing comments from the Attorney General’s office about the town’s new affordable housing trust bylaw.

School Committee, 7 p.m., via Zoom. The agenda includes reviewing the agreement with the Abington Education Association, going over back-to-school plans, and hearing from the Social Emotional Learning Subcommittee 

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