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 for cities and towns weekly. Holyoke specific data is provided below.
HPS Cumulative Confirmed Positive Cases (since school resumed 9/14)
|Cumulative Cases (As of 1/15)||Students||Staff||Total|
|Total Cumulative Cases||254||52||306|
|Cumulative Cases (As of 12/31)||Students||Staff||Total|
|In-person last 4 weeks ending 12/31||6||23||29|
|Remote last 4 weeks ending 12/31||92||2||94|
|Total last 4 weeks ending 12/31||98||25||123|
|Total since beginning of year 9/14||181||43||224|
The weekly health report from the Department of Health shows that Holyoke is in the RED category as of January 12, 2021. Per the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guidelines, districts are expected to prioritize in-person learning across all color-coded categories, unless there is suspected in-school transmission. Districts and schools in communities designated gray, green, or yellow are expected to have students learning fully in-person, if feasible. Schools in red communities should implement hybrid models, while maximizing in-person learning time for high-needs students. Fully remote instructional models should be implemented only as a last resort.
As of January 12, Holyoke’s total number of cases is 3,514, with 551 cases over the past 14 days (through 1/12). Holyoke’s test positivity is 8.11% with 8,011 tests performed and 650 COVID-positive test results for the 14 day period ending 1/12. (Source: Weekly COVID-19 Public Health Report).
Per the color-coded metrics (designated on November 5th), a community’s designation of gray, green, yellow or red now takes into account the size of the community, positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and the percent of tests conducted in a community that are positive.
DESE Expectation for Learning Model
For Holyoke, and other communities with populations of between 10,000 & 50,000 residents, color categories are assigned based on the following case counts:
Daily Incidence Rate
On November 6th, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) updated its guidance on interpreting health metrics in school settings based on a growing body of evidence that students should remain in school. DESE recommends that districts in the yellow range should operate in the in-person learning model. (See the chart below.)
DESE Expectation for Learning Model
This adjustment in interpreting health metrics is based on evidence that schools are not a significant source of COVID transmission as is stated in the updated guidance: “With numerous examples of schools reopening from around the world, across the country, and recent first-hand experience here in Massachusetts, it is increasingly clear that schools are not sources of significant COVID transmission, so long as proper health and safety protocols are followed. This has held true in Massachusetts even as we have seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases statewide, further indicating that with strong health and safety protocols, schools are able to operate safely for in-person learning. Moreover, we continue to observe the significant harms that come with keeping students out of school in terms of their academic progress and social-emotional and physical health.” Read more.
DESE also advises us that we continue to look at multiple weeks of data before shifting to learning models and that is what we are doing.
As we consider more in-classroom learning opportunities for students, 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. More information.