Holyoke’s Health Metrics
HPS carefully considers evolving health data and the environment in Holyoke and Massachusetts. District leaders meet at least weekly with Sean Gonsalves, Registered Sanitarian, Director of the Holyoke Board of Health to review health data and continue to refine our return to school plans. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health provides updated COVID-19 health metrics (October 7, 2020) for cities and towns weekly. Holyoke specific data is provided below.
HPS Cumulative Confirmed Positive Cases (since school resumed 9/14)
|2 - In-person, 16 - Remote|
COVID-19 Health Report for Holyoke
The majority of HPS students are learning remotely. For selected groups of students (called “Cohort C”), remote learning cannot effectively meet their educational needs, so we are offering them an in-person learning option.
The weekly health report from the Department of Health shows that Holyoke is in the RED category as of October 22, 2020 (see details below), which the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) recommends as a remote learning model for most students, but still allows in-person learning for some. DESE also advises districts to use a month’s worth of data to inform decisions of moving between models. Accordingly, we will continue to be extra diligent about all of our health and safety protocols for students and staff.
Holyoke’s total number of cases is 1255 and has had 73 cases over the past 14 days (through 10/22). Holyoke’s test positivity is 2.55% with 3446 tests performed and 86 COVID-positive test results for the 14 day period ending 10/22. (Weekly COVID-19 Public Health Report). As of 10/22, Holyoke Public Schools has had 15 positive cases since school resumed on 9/14. Two cases have been staff members, 2 have been in-person students and 13 have been remote-learning students.
Communities are classified by health officials according to a three-tiered system of higher risk (red, > 8), moderate risk (yellow, 4-8), or lower risk (green, <4). The tiers are determined based on the average daily cases per 100,000 residents. Last week, including Holyoke, there were 40 communities in the red and this week there are 63. As of 10/14/20, Holyoke’s average daily incident rate is 13.0/100,000 over the past 14 days. A rate over 8.0/100,000 would put a community in the “red”.
Holyoke COVID-19 Health Metrics
DESE Expectation for Learning Model
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) expectations for learning models is based on color coding (see chart above):
- RED (remote),
- YELLOW (hybrid or remote if extenuating circumstances),
- GREEN (full-time in-person or hybrid, if extenuating circumstances).
DESE also advises that we continue to look at multiple weeks of data before shifting to learning models and that is what we are doing. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that test positivity rates <5% is what is encouraged to open schools as well as additional research from the Harvard’s Global Health Institute which recommends an additional accommodation or recommendation of <3% of positivity rates.
We remain committed to following guidance from DESE and public health officials and the continued implementation of established health and safety protocols. The community is encouraged to continue taking advantage of the free testing centers and continue safety efforts, especially wearing face coverings, washing them frequently, social distancing, and hand washing.