The Winthrop Town Council met remotely on Aug. 4 for its regularly scheduled weekly meeting. In case you missed it, here are the highlights.
Dept. of Public Health (DPH) Director Meredith Hurley provided an update on COVID-19 cases in Winthrop. Since the start of the pandemic, Winthrop has seen 306 positive COVID-19 cases, with 269 in recovery, 13 in isolation and 24 deceased. Hurley said rates were slowing since the spike in July, and the town’s percent positive rate was the lowest it has been since the end of May. The town’s current 3.41 percent positive rate is more evenly spread among individuals of all ages. DPH is currently prioritizing the safe reopening of schools.
In terms of reopening Town Hall and other town departments, Town Manager Austin Faison said he is working to see how this could be done safely.
“The priority is the public health issue,” he said. “We are still a long, long way from coming back to normal.”
Town Manager Faison reported that pickup and dropoff of physical library materials was going well and that his next priority was to increase the availability of the library’s digital collection. He also commented that “the tenor of discussions” about the library in public forums had “gone overboard”, with commenters using vulgar language aimed at town employees.
“I wish people had more patience with one another,” he said. “We are all in this together.”
Winthrop Public Schools
The School Committee met on Aug. 3 where they unanimously decided that classes will resume on with a hybrid of in-person and remote learning. Students will be divided into Blue and Gold groups, with Blue students attending school in person Mondays and Tuesdays and Gold students attending Thursdays and Fridays. All students will attend remotely on Wednesdays. Electronic devices will be provided to all students to support remote participation. SPED students will have lessons in person every day but Wednesday. Orientation will begin on Sept. 16, with classes set to begin Sept 21. The plan is awaiting state approval.
State Aid Update
Council received an update from Asst. Town Manager Anna Freedman around the expected state aid for FY21. While the state has not yet set a full budget for FY21, it was able to approve a three-month interim budget for aid to municipalities.
The Council discussed naming the new fieldhouse at Miller Field after Anthony Fucillo, who coached at Winthrop High School for 35 years. Councilors received numerous letters and calls in favor of the dedication. The matter was sent to the Memorials Committee and a final vote will be held in two weeks.
Commission on Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations
Council President Phil Boncore appointed the last three of nine commissioners to the Commission on Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations. (See article in future publication.)
Council bestowed citations on the following individuals: Sister Jane Iannaccone for her 25 years at St. John the Evangelist Church, Gerald Difranza for his advocacy for disabled people, and Ellen Nickerson for 49 years of work at the Winthrop Public Library.
There will be a parade in honor of Sister Jane on Sunday, Aug. 9 at 1pm, leaving from the Winthrop High School.
The Winthrop High School ten year reunion for the class of 2010 was postponed until next year.