Superintendent’s Update ~ Positive COVID Test at BHS ~ October 26, 2020

October 26, 2020: Update Summary

* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at BHS (Case #13) has been identified
* Close contacts of Case #13 have been identified by contact tracers, and are being instructed to quarantine
* There are currently seventeen (17) quarantined close contacts of the BHS COVID-19 positive cases identified to date
* As of today, there are five (5) active COVID-19 positive cases in the BHS Community, and eight (8) cases have recovered

Today, I was informed by the Bedford Board of Health of the 13th Case of COVID-19 within the Bedford High School (BHS) Community since the start of school in mid-September. Case #13 is now in isolation at home. Investigations revealed that the case was present in school during their infectious period. Close contacts were identified and instructed to quarantine for fourteen (14) days after the last exposure to Case #13.

Superintendent Update – Letter to Families and Staff – Sunday, October 25, 2020

RE: Continued use of the Hybrid Model at Bedford High School

This afternoon we were informed by the Bedford Board of Health that the number of confirmed cases of COVID- 19 among the Bedford High School Community has remained consistent over the weekend (please note, the State of Massachusetts Department of Public Health MAVEN disease surveillance system, from which we receive data on confirmed COVID-19 cases, typically experiences delays in lab reporting on Saturdays and Sundays). Therefore, Bedford High School will continue to operate in the hybrid model at this time. As we have done throughout the pandemic, public health information will be reviewed daily, and assessed for decision making as it relates to our public school students, and community at large. We are indebted to the Bedford Board of Health for their work over the weekend tracking the positive cases and their close contacts. We also owe a debt of gratitude to the families who continue to communicate honestly with  our  community  health  officials. Working together provides the clearest picture of the path of the virus within our community.

The 2020 Presidential Election is Underway in Bedford

By mid-week, almost 39% of Bedford’s 10,000+ registered voters cast their ballots in the November 3 election. Of the 5,431 ballots mailed to Bedford residents, 3,116 were returned and 916 people took advantage of early voting. Click this link for early voting hours through Friday, October 30.

In addition to candidates for president, voters will choose Massachusetts’ next senator, our congressman, state senator, state representative, councillor, register of probate, and decide four ballot questions.

State Representative Ken Gordon and Rabbi Susan Abramson shared their video about the importance of voting.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Positive COVID Test at BHS ~ October 23, 2020

3 New positive COVID-19 cases at BHS – 9 Pending Cases – Close Contacts being Notified New and recent cases related to gatherings outside of the school environment

Sadly, we were informed today that a number of school community members (i.e., student or staff) at Bedford High School have been diagnosed with confirmed cases of COVID-19. This is of course very disappointing news. We have learned that there have been multiple gatherings that have occurred outside of the high school but have involved Bedford High School students and families.

These cases involve gatherings where safety precautions were not taken by both adults and students to protect against the spread of COVID. Since October 1, 2020 there have been 9 COVID-19 positive cases at the high school among students. Of those cases, 4 have become positive since October 21, 2020. Since contract tracing is still being conducted, there may be more pending positive cases or close contacts identified that result from the gatherings. Currently, 15 high school students are under quarantine.

Upon receipt of the positive reports, the Bedford school health personnel in collaboration with the Bedford Board of Health immediately began case investigations. The first step in a school case investigation is to determine whether or not the positive case attended school during the infectious period. According to MA Department of Public Health (MDPH) guidelines, the infectious period for COVID-19 is two days prior to becoming symptomatic or, if asymptomatic, two days prior to testing.

The investigation to date has revealed that these COVID-19 positive school community members may have been present at Bedford High School during their infectious period, and close contacts are being identified among the school community in this situation. All close contacts will be identified and instructed to quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure to the person who tested positive, regardless of a test result. We will continue to monitor this situation over the weekend and decide if the number of positive cases and close contacts requires Bedford High School to move to an ALL REMOTE model for the 14-day quarantine period.

The Board of Health is currently awaiting receipt of COVID-19 testing results for numerous close contacts of the aforementioned individuals. This data will enable us to determine how widespread the situation is at this time. Based on the analytical results of these pending tests, I am letting you know that it is very possible that we may need to close Bedford High School and transition from the Hybrid Model to the Full Remote Model. I will make this decision in collaboration with the Health and Human Services Director, Town Manager, and the Bedford School Committee and will communicate to the community Sunday, October 25, 2020

If this were to happen, BHS would be closed from Monday, October 26, 2020, and reopen on Monday, November 9, 2020.

Dr. Henry Miranda ~ One of Bedford’s Renaissance Men

Henry Miranda is keeping busy during the months of sheltering at home, insulating against the coronavirus Covid-19.

He is writing a book.

That shouldn’t be a surprise, actually. Dr. Miranda, who recently marked his 96th birthday, is an authentic Renaissance man.

He designed the house where he and his wife Cecile have resided since 1966. He has been writing music since his college days and studied at the Longy School in Cambridge well into his 70s. He holds several patents and helped design a camera that accompanied a space shuttle.

And for more than two decades, he was well known in Bedford for his town meeting oratory, presenting fiscally conservative positions with a style and vocabulary not often seen or heard during the municipal business meeting.

“For the last four or five years, I have been writing a book about Catholicism. It is called The Richness of Our Faith,” he said. He is in no rush to finish – “The good Lord is keeping me here for some reason.”

On the Ballot ~ Bedford Legislators Sen. Mike Barrett and Rep. Ken Gordon

At a time when other voters around the country are choosing who will represent them in their state legislatures, the voters of Bedford have little to decide: neither Ken Gordon in the House nor Mike Barrett in the Senate is facing an opponent.

This week The Citizen caught up with both State Representative Gordon and State Senator Barrett to ask what it’s like to run unopposed, what they’re doing with the time they would otherwise spend campaigning, and what they would say to Bedford voters if they were campaigning.

Vince: A Tribute and Win for BHS Men’s Soccer

The Bedford Men’s soccer team bested Wayland 3-0 during Saturday’s Kicks for Cancer game at Sabourin Field. A pregame dedication honoring Jeff JHO Hoyland written by BHS parent J.D. Howell was read by Director of Athletics Keith Mangan.

A ‘Coastie Kid’ himself, Hoyland’s family came to Bedford in the 1970s when his father, a Coast Guard rescue pilot, was assigned to the USCG base on Atlantic Avenue in Boston. In addition to his commitment to Vince and the men’s soccer team, Hoyland supported Bedford’s Coast Guard families during the government shutdown in 2018.

“Mr. Hoyland’s service to his communities embodied the spirit of the Coast Guard’s core values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty,” wrote Howell, who is attached to the US Coast Guard station in Boston. “Please accept this letter of appreciation and [our] condolences for your loss.” The dedication included the presentation of a US Coast Guard flag to the Hoyland family; the flag recently flew over Boston Harbor at Base Boston.

Howell’s son, the team’s goaltender Evin Squires, especially remembers Hoyland’s quote, “Why be normal when you can be extraordinary?” 

The team’s tweets @VinceAutMorire told the tale of the game:

“COVID-19 couldn’t stop Bedford and Wayland from participating in Kicks for Cancer this year. Thank you to both teams for your efforts to raise money for @DanaFarber Cancer Institute as a part of today’s soccer match! @VinceAutMorire @WaylandSoccer

“Bucs (4-1-1) beat Wayland 3-0. More importantly, raised money for @kicksforcancer1 and remembered @jeffhoyland with a beautiful pregame dedication thanks to the @uscg  and Squire family. Thank you @waylandsoccer for all of your help and support. #dclpride

“Vince to SR defender Nico Fotis for his lockdown work off the bench. G: SR Jasper Paez, JR Max Alper + FR Miles Herzog. A: Paez + JR Collens Jumelle. 4th shutout for JR Evan Squire and the defense.”

Kicks for Cancer benefits the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and the back of each team member’s shirt displayed a memorial.

Kicks for Cancer 2020 ~ A Gallery of Images

Early Voting is Underway in Bedford

A Bedford virologist who cited Dr. Anthony Fauci as her ‘personal hero’ was the first voter in line, waiting for the polls to open Saturday afternoon. She was joined by about a dozen others, and the group became a small crowd before the first vote was cast.

The Reed Room at Town Hall is arranged to accommodate appropriate social distancing with plenty of sanitzer on hand.

Bedford’s AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal, an optical scan ballot marker, is available for individuals unable to personally mark their ballot due to visual limitations, physical impairments, or language barriers.

Early in-person voting is available daily through Friday, October 30. Click this link for the full schedule of weekday and weekend hours.

Unregistered voters have another week (Saturday, October 24)  to get onto the voter rolls. The online or in person registration deadline is October 24; mailed registration must be postmarked by October 24.

And there is still time to request an absentee ballot. All requests must be received by 5 pm on Wednesday, October 28. Returned ballots must be postmarked or returned in person by the close of the polls on Tuesday, November 3

The BEF Great Pumpkin and Scarecrow Display Contest!

The Bedford Education Foundation is proud and to bring you an exciting Fall fundraiser to support our schools and build further community in these challenging times. Have some fun decorating your home for Fall with The BEF Great Pumpkin and Scarecrow Display Contest!

The contest is already open, and entries are coming in, so here’s how you can be a part of the excitement. First, go to https://bedfordeducation.org/donate. A minimum $25 donation gets your home on the map. Don’t forget to include your address and mention “Fall contest” in the notes. You can also indicate if your display is best viewed at night, and the BEF will designate these displays on the map, which will be available to the community when the contest has closed. Next, decorate the front of your home with pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, and/or scarecrows to show your support for Bedford’s schools. Then, send us a picture! Be creative!

Entry and Decorating must be complete by Wednesday, Oct. 28th. Voting takes place between 10/29 & 11/1. While we encourage community members to get out and about safely to view the displays, pictures will also be available on-line. The community at-large will vote for “Best Overall Display” in each category – Scarecrow or Pumpkin, and the BEF Events Committee will vote for winners in these special categories: Best Bedford Themed, Funniest Fall, and Spookiest Displays!

Please note that the mapping and judging elements of this contest are for residences only. Several local businesses will be enthusiastically decorating, however, so please keep an eye out for them as well!

Winners will be announced on 11/2, and yes, there are PRIZES! Many generous Bedford businesses have donated items for our fabulous contest prize packages. More details to come before the deadline, but start planning your display today! Any questions, please contact the BEF via email at president@bedfordeducation.org. As always, all proceeds from this event help the BEF fund creative and innovative grant programs at all four Bedford schools.

Halloween Health and Safety Tips from Bedford Police, Fire, Health and Human Services

Police Chief Robert Bongiorno, Fire Chief David Grunes, and Health and Human Services Director Heidi Porter would like to share safety tips for trick-or-treating and alternative Halloween activities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Town of Bedford does not oversee trick-or-treating activities in the community but recommends those who do plan to trick-or-treat do so on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 6-8 p.m.

“Our primary goal is that everyone stays safe and healthy this Halloween, so please, make the right choice and make sure your plans for the holiday follow public health guidance to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19,” Police Chief Bongiorno said. “Trick-or-treating needs to be done differently this year to protect everyone. Practice social distancing, wear an appropriate cloth face covering, and if you feel sick or may have been exposed to COVID-19, we urge you to please stay home.”

“Indoor Halloween parties with large groups simply aren’t appropriate this Halloween, and neither is the usual door-to-door trick-or-treating that has happened in the past,” Porter said. “Unfortunately modifications or alternatives to these traditions need to be made this year to keep you and your loved ones safe while celebrating the holiday. We encourage everyone to consider lower-risk activities and festivities that lend themselves easily to social distancing and reduced contact.”

Should residents partake in trick-or-treating, they are encouraged to make individually wrapped goodie bags that can be placed at the end of a driveway or the edge of their yard for families to take. Those who do not wish to participate in Trick-or-Treat are asked to shut off their outdoor lights as an indicator.

“Thank you all for your continued cooperation and patience as our community, and the world, navigates the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fire Chief Grunes said. “Your actions matter and can make a huge difference for our community and the health and wellbeing of others. If you go trick-or-treating, do so while taking the proper precautions. Have a Happy Halloween, be safe, and be well, Bedford.”

Residents are asked to take the following precautions from the Department of Public Health if they choose to trick-or-treat this year:

Responding to Positive Cases of COVID-19 and Contact Tracing – FAQ October 6, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 and their Response to Positive Cases and Contact Tracing.

Will the names of positive COVID-19 cases in the school community be released?
No

Will personal health information be released on COVID-19 positive cases?
No.

Will the identification of individual classrooms occupied by positive cases be released?
At this time, no.

If it is determined that my child is not a close contact, will I be informed that a child/teacher in my child’s class has tested positive?
At this time, no.

How will I know if there is a case of COVID-19 in my child’s classroom/school?
The school nurses strive to monitor illness and potential COVID-19 cases as well as identify any possible positive cases in the school community. Recognizing the importance of protecting confidentiality and following the MA DPH guidelines for close contact management, at this time you will be only notified if your child is considered a close contact.

If my child is diagnosed with COVID-19, will his/her/their privacy be maintained?
Your child’s name will not be revealed if diagnosed with COVID-19. Close contacts will be notified and told that they have been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and will be provided with information about quarantine and given further instructions. No personal identification will be given to others.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Positive COVID Test at BHS ~ October 4, 2020

Today [Sunday], I was informed by the Bedford Board of Health that they received a laboratory testing report indicating that a school community member (i.e., student or staff) at Bedford High School has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19. This is a separate school community member than what was reported several days ago. Please note that the cases are not connected and neither is a close contact of the other.

Upon receipt of the positive report, the Bedford Board of Health immediately began case investigations. The first step in a school case investigation is to determine whether or not the positive case attended school during the infectious period. According to MA Department of Public Health (MDPH) guidelines, the infectious period for COVID-19 is two days prior to becoming symptomatic or, if asymptomatic, two days prior to testing.

The Board of Health determined that the positive Bedford High School community member was present at school during one day of their infectious period. Therefore, action was taken to identify possible close contacts while the school community member was in school. Investigative efforts revealed no close contacts at school. The COVID-19 positive individual verified not having any close contacts in the school community. This disclosure was verified by reputable sources present in the school setting, including teachers/school staff who are responsible for monitoring the classroom/school environment for any breaches of safety protocols.

Coming Soon: The Bedford Guide 2021

The Bedford Guide 2021 – A look back at 2020 – A typical year, it was not!

You just know you’ll remember some years more than others. Significant events help recall such memories: the Blizzard of ‘78, the Summer of Woodstock, or 9/11. Each has been defined as a turning point. But the year 2020 seems different.

Wildfires, a presidential impeachment, double-digit unemployment, a pandemic that has taken the lives of over 200,000 fellow Americans, massive street protests for racial justice, and the year 2020 is not over yet.

The Bedford Citizen is about to memorialize this incredible year in The Bedford Guide 2021.

This look back will juxtapose what’s going on in the world and what’s going on locally.  More than that, we will also show how our community came together and all the incredible efforts that were displayed: drive-by birthday parades, feeding healthcare workers, thousands of home-sewn masks, and so many other things, large and small, that make Bedford such a special place.

The Bedford Guide 2021 will be mailed to every Bedford address — both residential and business. Look for it in your mailbox in about a month.

For those businesses that are looking to place an ad, there is still time … not much though.

Bedford is One of Six Recipients of MAPC’s Racial Equity Municipal Action Plan Grant

Bedford will soon embark on a year-long process to plan and implement a racial equity action plan for municipal and school employees, at no cost to the town.

The program, awarded competitively, is called REMAP, an acronym for the Racial Equity Municipal Action Plan. It is sponsored by a collaboration among three government entities: the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Funding for the consultants involved will be covered as a technical assistance grant. The six recipients were announced this week.

The first four months will focus on “tailored” training, reflection, and self-assessment. Beginning in February, the town will turn to developing a starting to implement a racial equity municipal action plan.

“It is going to be wonderful to have such valuable consulting that we would not normally be able to get,” stated Town Manager Sarah A. Stanton, who said she will be the point person for execution and implementation.

She said the process will focus on “working with staff and some elected officials to put together policy initiatives.” The agenda includes examining current guidelines and procedures and creating an action plan for the next steps.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Thursday, October 1, 2020

I was informed by the Bedford Board of Health that they received a laboratory testing report indicating that a school community member (i.e., student or staff) at Davis Elementary school and Bedford High School has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

The Bedford Board of Health immediately began case investigations. The first step in a school case investigation is to determine whether or not the positive case attended school during the infectious period. According to the MA Department of Public Health (MDPH) guidelines, the infectious period for COVID-19 is two days prior to becoming symptomatic or, if asymptomatic, two days prior to testing.

The Board of Health determined that the positive school community member at the Davis Elementary School or at Bedford High School was not present at school during their infectious period, therefore, no close contacts were identified among the school community in this situation.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Wednesday, September 30, 2020

I was informed by the Bedford Board of Health that they received a laboratory testing report indicating that a school community member (i.e., student or staff) at John Glenn Middle School has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

The Bedford Board of Health immediately began case investigations. The first step in a school case investigation is to determine whether or not the positive case attended school during the infectious period. According to the MA Department of Public Health (MDPH) guidelines, the infectious period for COVID-19 is two days prior to becoming symptomatic or, if asymptomatic, two days prior to testing. The Board of Health determined that the positive school community member at JGMS was not present at school during their infectious period, therefore, no close contacts were identified among the school community in this situation.

Our first responsibility is to keep our school community safe. We have been planning for this scenario during our reopening planning process and have a comprehensive plan in place to sanitize the school each school day, inform families whose students were at risk of exposure or in close contact, and support the affected family as they navigate this stressful experience.

Our school community has been closely adhering to safety protocols including mask-wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. We are grateful to our families for their continued efforts to keep students home at the first sign of symptoms. These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission. Though we cannot provide specific information about our school community member who tested positive, your child was not a close contact (defined as being within 6 feet of the person for at least 15 minutes) of the affected school member. Please continue to monitor your child for symptoms, and keep your child home if he/she/they show any symptoms or is not feeling well.

We will continue to be vigilant in adhering to all of the protocols that have been put in place in an effort to continue in-person learning via our current hybrid model. We are also providing remote learning for all students required to quarantine at home to continue to provide instruction, structure, and an emotional connection to the classroom during a time that we know will be challenging for those children and families involved.

Parents should be aware of the signs and symptoms of Covid-19.

DPW Announces Compost Center’s Autumn Schedule

Editor’s Note: A robocall to the town on Tuesday, September 29, noted that the Compost Center will be closed on Wednesday, September 30, due to heavy rains in the weather forecast.

The Department of Public Works has announced the fall schedule for the Compost Center.

Click to view the full-size image

Starting October 7, the Compost Center, located at 108 Carlisle Road, will be open every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., except for Veteran’s Day (November 11) and the day before Thanksgiving (November 25).

The Compost Center will also be open on Saturday, October 10, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and then starting on Saturday, October 24, the center will be open every Saturday through December 5. Normal hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., but during November the hours will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m

The schedule is available at www.bedfordma.gov/recycling under the Calendar tab.

Pursuant to the Town’s EPA Stormwater Permit, the DPW urges residents to properly dispose of leaves and yard waste and to not dump leaves in wetlands or waterways. Also, residents are asked to keep storm drains clear of leaf litter and pine needles. Fallen leaves are loaded with natural fertilizer and are a source of stormwater pollution.

Per state regulations, yard waste is prohibited from regular trash. Residents may either compost yard waste on their own property or bring the yard waste to the Compost Center where it will be turned into loam products for Public Works projects.

Acceptable yard waste consists of leaves, pine needles, grass clippings, garden trimmings, weeds, and tree material up to one inch (1”) in diameter. Tree limbs more than one inch (1”) in diameter can be placed in the brush pile. Only paper biodegradable bags, available at a variety of stores, are allowed to be dropped off. Residents should empty plastic trash bags or containers of yard waste and bring them home for reuse.

Compost bins are available for $45 from the DPW at 314 Great Road. Contact Ed McGrath, Bedford’s Recycling Coordinator, at emcgrath@bedfordma.gov.

Shared Streets Grant to Promote Public Health, Safe Mobility, and Renewed Commerce

Over the summer, the Town of Bedford was awarded $62,666 in Shared Streets grant funding from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to support projects that promote public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted some existing needs and has created new ones, and these projects are intended to maximize opportunities for residents and visitors alike to take advantage of our Town resources including enhanced outdoor dining and other commercial, recreational, biking, and pedestrian facilities while supporting the recovery efforts of local businesses.

This update describes the changes that have been made possible by this grant, in collaboration with several Town Departments, committees, and business partners.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Sunday, September 27, 2020

was informed by the Bedford Board of Health that they received a laboratory testing report indicating that a school community member (i.e., student or staff) at Lane Elementary school has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

The Bedford Board of Health immediately began case investigations. The first step in a school case investigation is to determine whether or not the positive case attended school during the infectious period. According to the MA Department of Public Health (MDPH) guidelines, the infectious period for COVID-19 is two days prior to becoming symptomatic or, if asymptomatic, two days prior to testing. The Board of Health determined that the positive school community member at Lane School was not present at school during their infectious period, therefore, no close contacts were identified among the school community in this situation.