One High School class trip approved, another in limbo

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As Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases spread across Massachusetts and the world, Marblehead businesses and agencies are taking precautionary steps to keep locals safe from the epidemic.

“We have a committee of doctors monitoring this fast moving public health situation and advising us on the most up to date CDC recommendations,” Karen Robinson, Dir. of PR and Marketing at the JCC of the North Shore, wrote in an email to The Reporter.

Like many places in town, the J has increased its daily cleaning, especially in its fitness center. It also sent a survey to staff asking about their international travel in the last few months.

At the Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA, signs around the building remind people to wash hands frequently, use hand sanitizing stations, and clean fitness machines after use. The signs also encourage members to stay home if they have any symptoms of illness.

David Zion, co-owner of Warwick Place, says people should feel comfortable coming to a movie at Warwick Cinema.

“We’re beefing-up our cleaning and sanitizing,” he said.

At Starbucks, a flyer informs patrons that the coffee shop won’t be using reusable cups during the health emergency.

“In addition to sanitizing procedures in all our stores, this is one more step we can all take to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19),” the flyer reads.

And at Abbot Library, Director Patti Rogers says for now, they’re treating this like a typical flu season, but that may change.

“We’re wiping doorknobs and computer keyboards, all the things that a person would do to not get sick,” Rogers said.

 If the epidemic worsens, Rogers says she may delay programs that draw big crowds.

“I’m not sure we want 100 people together in a room,” she said.

The library is also displaying information sheets from government agencies about Coronavirus. “We want to be a resource as information keeps coming in,” she added.

Over at the Senior Center, Council on Aging Director Lisa Hooper says “our custodians are hyper-vigilant about cleanliness, washing floors, wiping down equipment and door knobs.”

There’s also hand-sanitizer around the facility.

“We encourage participants to wash their hands often,” she said.

 

One School Trip Approved

The School Committee voted to allow four students to attend the DECA International Career Conference in Nashville next month but is taking a wait and see attitude with an already- approved trip to France.

A year ago, the committee approved a trip for a Marblehead High School French class to travel to France. Twelve students plus chaperones are scheduled to fly out over April vacation, according to interim Superintendent William McAlduff.

"France is not on the state's or CDC's (Center for Disease Control) travel advisory list," he said. "But I will tell you a number of districts across the state are canceling trips and the Governor is encouraging schools to cancel trips."

McAlduff said they will continue to monitor things and are talking to the travel agency regarding the insurance piece and what it covers if the trip is canceled.

Committee member Sarah Fox wondered if the DECA conference could be impacted since there may be students traveling in from other countries.

"Is that a concern?" she asked.

"It is a completely valid question," said Chairman Sarah Gold.

McAlduff said it could be an issue for the international students but thus far no one has talked about canceling inter-state travel.

"But it's something we'll monitor," he said.

DECA is a nonprofit that prepares "emerging leaders and entrepreneurs," for careers in business, finance, marketing, and other areas. Marblehead students were invited to the conference as a result of their strong performance during a state level challenge.

"These students worked so hard," Fox said. "I wholeheartedly hope they can go -- I just thought I should mention my concern."

In a letter to parents, McAlduff assured parents the district is closely monitoring the Coronavirus.

“Our School Facilities Department is sanitizing our educational spaces as we typically do during cold and flu season. We are following all recommended guidelines to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” he wrote.