Special to the Transcript
The Town of Winthrop, after meeting with its leadership team and consulting with a consortium of mayors and municipal managers from around the metropolitan Boston area, has made the decision to close the Winthrop Public Schools through April 6. The town has also decided to suspend most nonessential town services and cancel board and committee meetings until further notice.
Additionally, the Winthrop Public Library, Winthrop Parks and Recreation Department and Larsen Rink will be closed through March 27th. The Winthrop Council on Aging will be open for lunch Monday through Friday and senior transportation will continue from Monday through Thursday. All Council on Aging programs and evets are cancelled.
All town committee and board meetings will be canceled through March 27.
The town is advising its residents to practice social distancing and avoid group activities and events. Social distancing is keeping 4-6 ft. between people to prevent the spread of infection which also includes handshaking, hugging and the like.
The decision was made after reviewing the facts and circumstances of the rapidly unfolding novel coronavirus crisis, which has been designated a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.
Superintendent Lisa Howard will be reaching out to all Winthrop Public School families with a follow up notice containing detailed information related to public schools.
The Winthrop leadership team met Thursday after Town Manager Austin Faison, Assistant Town Manager Anna Freedman and Public Health Director Meredith Hurley met with a group of mayors and municipal managers in Greater Boston to review the latest information about the COVID-19 outbreak.
Winthrop’s Town administrative offices will operate with minimal staff in order to maintain core municipal services and reachable by phone. The hours of operation will be Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. & Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 4 p.m.
“Although Winthrop does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19, we have to act out of an abundance of caution. The information that has been provided to my office has been sobering and necessitates immediate action,” Town Manager Faison said. “I hope that everyone in the community can be patient as we work through this situation. We look forward to resuming operations.”
The Town of Winthrop is coordinating efforts to provide support to the vulnerable populations in town, including school-age children on free and reduced lunches, seniors needing food and medical support as well as transportation to medical appointments.
Winthrop has also activated its Emergency Operations Center, ensuring interoperability and seamless logistics and delivery of vital town services with representatives from multiple town agencies and departments in constant communication. As part of this activation, the town will staff a hotline from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily until further notice. That number, for Winthrop residents only, is 617-539-5848. Residents can also email the Emergency Operations Center team at [email protected]
Local information will be posted at: https://tinyurl.com/wincovidupdate.
Town social media: https://www.facebook.com/winthropma/ and on Twitter @townofwinthrop
Local media (WCAT and the Winthrop Transcript) Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.