It’s the week parents have been looking forward to since June and the week kids have been dreading – back-to-school week, with classes regathering in Abington on Wednesday, Sept. 1
Many parents and teachers and administrators and students will gather this afternoon and this evening for various orientation sessions. Everybody gets one more day of summer on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday morning the school bell rings for Abington’s 2000-plus students. Classes will be in session Wednesday and Thursday before everyone takes off Friday for an extended Labor Day weekend. And then everyone will be back Tuesday, September 7th for the long uphill slog toward Thanksgiving.
Students and staff will start the year wearing masks after state Education Commissioner Jeff Riley last week instituted a mask mandate at least through October 1st. The requirement doesn’t apply to students with documented health and behavioral concerns. Abington School Superintendent Peter Schafer gave a presentation at last week’s school committee outlining this year’s pandemic-related rules — or at least he tried to before angry parents started interrupting and berating him and board members for not fighting against the mandate.
As School Committee Chairwoman Wendy Happel pointed out during the meeting, however, the number of Abington teachers and students who tested positive for COVID were relatively low last year – a school year when masks were required and stricter social distancing rules were in place. (And as one reader pointed out, there were no reported cases during summer school among the 100 teachers and students, when masks weren’t required but classrooms were also less densely populated)
Anyway. And awwwwaaay we go…
SCHOOL OPEN HOUSES
The Beaver Brook Open House for parents and students entering Grades 1 & 2 is this afternoon from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Freshmen and new student orientation at the High School runs from 3:15 – 5:15 p.m., on Monday
Woodsdale students and parents have their Open House from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., on Monday
The Middle School Open House for parents and students entering Grades 5 & 6 is this evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
And the Open House for students in Grades 7 & 8 will take place on Thursday, Sept. 9 from 6-8 p.m.
HEALTH BOARD MEETING MONDAY
The Health Board has their regularly scheduled meeting Monday night and will discuss whether to follow the lead of a few other Bay State towns and reinstitute a mask requirement in public spaces. It will likely depend on the latest numbers of COVID-positive cases in Abington, which, as of last week, had been hovering around a couple dozen. But as more people return from summer vacations, health officials are carefully watching to see if those numbers tick up significantly.
SELECTMEN MAKING BOARD APPOINTMENTS MONDAY
The Board of Selectmen Monday night will officially name the newest members of the town’s Fire Station Building Committee, Open Space Committee, and Affordable Housing Trust Committee. Moderator Shawn Reilly is also expected to reveal his choices to serve on the Charter Review Committee, which he appoints. Selectmen will also announce that there are two openings for voting seats on the Conservation Commission. New board members are encouraged to ask for copies of all the latest board policies and protocols.
40B TRAINING SESSION TUESDAY
Abington’s Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a training session with a consultant Tuesday to learn more about affordable housing projects, known as 40B projects. Judi Barrett, a well-known figure in the state’s affordable housing community, will lead the session, which is being paid for by the state. A company has filed a plan to build a 236-unit 40B project on land next to the MBTA commuter rail station off Summer Street. The session is open to the public.
BIG STORM THURSDAY?
The remnants of Hurricane Ida are expected to blow through the region on Thursday and could dump several inches of rain on Abington. The town dodged a bullet with Hurricane Henri, which drifted too far west to impact Abington. Ida, which was a much bigger, more powerful storm than Henri, is expected to move eastward over the next couple days, and could bring between 3-6 inches of rain with it. DPW Director John Stone encouraged homeowners to make sure their sump pumps are ready and that they are not discharging into a public roadway. The town has cleaned out all 1,800 storm drains over the past year, as now required to do under federal law, but it would be helpful if we all made sure the grates are clear of debris so any stormwater actually, you know, runs into the basins instead of over them.
Board of Health, 7 p.m., Town Hall. Agenda includes a message from the board, updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, and a discussion about a possible town-wide mask mandate
Board of Selectmen, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall. Agenda includes board appointments, details on the Sept. 11 vigil, and a discussion about adding a beer tend to the food truck night.
Zoning Board of Appeals, 6:30 p.m., via Zoom. The meeting will provide training on 40B projects.
Board of Assessors, 11 a.m., Town Hall. Agenda includes a review if months’ end numbers and motor vehicle excise taxes.
School Committee, 7 p.m., MS/HS Library. Agenda TBD.