Reflections ~ A Student’s Perspective on Senior Year, 2020

Back in April, I was approached by my English teacher to contribute a piece of writing to what would eventually become a collection of Shawsheen-student perspectives on Covid-19 and its effect on our lives. Essentially, my words would be included in a published book that would be accessible to students in the future. As I reflect on this piece of writing now, over two months later, there was one line in particular that I feel embodies my entire experience.
 
My name is Grace Clark, and I can now officially say I am a graduate of Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School. A Bedford resident my whole life, my decision to go to Shawsheen wasn’t exactly what was expected of me back in middle school …

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Thursday, 9 July 2020

Editor’s Note: Current case update and information about Saturday’s Annual Town Meeting at Sabourin Field

Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Thursday, July 9, 2020

The semi-weekly update is also available in the following places if you’d like to share with your friends:

Website ~ www.BedfordMA.gov
Facebook ~ @bedfordma
Twitter ~ @BedfordMAGov

Current Cases

As of today, July 6, 2020, there have been a total of two hundred fifty-nine (259) positive cases of COVID-19 reported to the Town of Bedford Board of Health by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH), of those, one hundred forty-seven (147) are Bedford residents not living in a healthcare/long term care setting. The deaths of forty (40) Bedford residents have been attributed to COVID-19. The total case number includes residents of the Town of Bedford, including but not limited to those in single-family homes, apartments, the VA campus, Hanscom Air Force Base, special needs group homes and any and all other larger assisted living/care facilities in Bedford as reported to us by the MA DPH. Two hundred and one (201) of the total Bedford cases have already recovered and have come off isolation and there may other Bedford residents who would be considered persons under investigation in that they are symptomatic, have undergone testing but have not yet received results. There are other individuals impacted by COVID-19 in the community who have not sought medical attention, and/or have not been tested and are isolating at home regardless.

Carleton-Willard Village Residents Cautioned to Forgo Annual Town Meeting

Don’t expect many of the 300 independent living residents at Carleton-Willard Village to help make the quorum at Saturday morning’s annual town meeting.
 
A memorandum late last week from Dr. Cherie Noe, the retirement community’s medical director, and also signed by the nurse practitioner urged residents to stay home.
 
Acknowledging the importance of civic responsibility, and the state’s success in controlling the spread of the virus, the memo nonetheless noted that “we can’t let our guard down” and called for continued hand hygiene, face-covering, and social distancing.

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Monday, 6 July 2020

Editor’s Note: Today’s semi-weekly update from Town Manager Sarah Stanton and the Covid-19 Task Force includes the current case count, Phase 3 re-opening details, and the Town’s information about Annual Town Meeting. Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Monday, July 6, 2020

The semi-weekly update is also available in the following places if you’d like to share with your friends:

Website ~ www.BedfordMA.gov
Facebook ~ @bedfordma
Twitter ~ @BedfordMAGov

Current Cases
As of today, July 6, 2020, there have been a total of two hundred fifty-eight (258) positive cases of COVID-19 reported to the Town of Bedford Board of Health by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH), of those, one hundred forty-six (146) are Bedford residents not living in a healthcare/long term care setting. The deaths of forty (40) Bedford residents have been attributed to COVID-19. The total case number includes residents of the Town of Bedford, including but not limited to those in: single-family homes, apartments, the VA campus, Hanscom Air Force Base, special needs group homes and any and all other larger assisted living/care facilities in Bedford as reported to us by the MA DPH. Two hundred and one (201) of the total Bedford cases have already recovered and have come off isolation and there may other Bedford residents who would be considered persons under investigation in that they are symptomatic, have undergone testing but have not yet received results.

Town of Bedford’s Semi-weekly Update on Covid-19 ~ Thursday, 2 July 2020

Thursday’s report from the town includes the current case count along with information about Phase 3 Reopening to begin on Monday, July 6; housing resources during Covid-19; Town Meeting, scheduled for 9 am on Saturday, July 11; and suggestions for staying safe while celebrating the 4th of July.

Click this link in the actual story to read the town’s full update for Thursday, July 2, 2020

A Joint Statement from the Bedford Select Board and the Bedford School Committee

As we approach Annual Town Meeting, rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know many of you have questions about reductions to the proposed Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget that was prepared and published in the warrant prior to the start of the public health crisis. We hope to answer many of those questions here and explain the reasons behind the reductions.

 Why are we reducing the budget?

The COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on the economy. Locally, we anticipate substantial losses in state aid, hotel/motel/meals taxes, investment income, licenses and permits, and other revenue sources. Based on state and local projections, we expect to face a $2.2 million budget shortfall in FY21. We are likely to face similar shortfalls in the following two years. Of the $2.2 million, around $600,000 in reductions are proposed for Town departments, and roughly $1.3 million are proposed for the schools. The remaining funds will come from savings in our debt service and snow/ice removal budgets.

Click through to read the full article

OpEd: State Guidelines Are Defeating the Power of Testing to Keep People Safe from SARS-COV-2 Infection in Massachusetts

Wednesday, July 1, the Joint Committee on Education has scheduled a hearing on the status of early education and care and is collecting written testimony until 5 pm on Tuesday, July 7.

Click this link to learn more about tomorrow’s hearing.

Written testimony may be submitted to Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov and Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov with the subject line “EEC OVERSIGHT HEARING TESTIMONY” 

I am urging all persons interested in child care and education to respond and request SARS-CoV-2 strategies for children in day care facilities and schools in the Commonwealth that include regular testing.  It is obvious that the safest place for a child of any age is an environment in which regular testing is employed to identify contagious persons.

Covid-19 ~ When Life Gives You Lemons? Make Lemonade!

All right, there is a lot, I mean a lot of things wrong with life in our pandemic world.  Healthwise, economically, socially, and worry, are just the big ones.  There are countless other terrible aspects of all this.  I’m lucky, I know, knock on wood, but everybody in our house is healthy, and no one has lost their job

METCO Hosts a Virtual Celebration for the Class of 2020

With 100 students enrolled, Bedford’s program is neither METCO’s largest or smallest partner, but the Town has an important history since the program opened here in the early 1970s. This year’s Bedford High School graduates Cristina Delgado, Sage Hull, Jonathan Pierre, Esmeralda Puello, and Aaliya Valentine joined Class of 2020 graduates from 29 school departments to participate in Saturday afternoon’s virtual METCO graduation gala.

The Bedford Unicorn Causes Grins Around Town, and Raises Funds for the Bedford Food Pantry

Spotting a unicorn tends to be considered nothing but fantasy. Locally, Bedford Unicorn sightings have become a common occurrence thanks to Daisy Girifalco.

Since mid-March, Girifalco has been parading around town in an 8-foot tall inflatable unicorn costume. She initially bought the costume to help a friend create a video for her dance company. Days later she brought the costume back out to sing happy birthday (from a distance) to a neighbor.

Looking Back to National History Day, 2020 ~ A Bedford High School Tradition

For the past 14 years, National History Day has been an important milestone for the Junior Class at Bedford High School. From the winter evening when all the projects are shown to classmates, parents, and friends through the season, typically culminating in some of the BHS projects competing at the University of Maryland in June.

Read on to learn more about this year’s NHD competition, the projects, and their creators.

Op-Ed: A Message from Shawsheen Tech on Reopening the School

A message from Shawsheen Tech’s Interim Superintendent-Director Melanie L. Hagman and Superintendent-Director Designate Bradford L. Jackson, Ed.D.

Today, Governor Baker’s office and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released their initial guidance about reopening schools this fall. We applaud the level of thought and care that went into the development of this guidance, and share its goal of the safe return of as many students as possible to in-person school settings in order to best meet students’ academic, social, and emotional needs.

Op-Ed: A Message from Superintendent Jon Sills on Reopening Bedford Schools

Today, Governor Baker and Commissioner of Education Jeff Riley released their initial guidance about reopening schools this fall.  We applaud the level of thought and care that went into the development of this guidance and share its goal of the safe return of as many students as possible to in-person school settings in order to best meet students’ academic, social, and emotional needs.  Our thanks go as well to all of the stakeholders who have contributed to this plan, including health professionals, the Massachusetts Superintendents Association, and the teachers’ unions.

Bedford Arts and Craft Society Members Serve Those in Need

Bedford Arts and Crafts Society (BACS) members have been making a difference, using their artistic skills to spread cheer through community service projects. Their current effort is making get-well cards for hospital patients and thank-you cards that are included with meals donated to health care workers through Operation Feed the Soul.

The BACS effort to participate in service projects began two years ago when Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan introduced Project Linus. BACS crafters went to work and hand-crocheted blankets that were donated for children in stressful situations. BACS crafting chair Jane Franklin remembers, “It was a ‘feel-good’ activity, so I actively looked for additional ways that BACS could support our community.” The next year fleece blankets were made and donated. Crafters then assembled an array of holiday gifts (made and donated by generous members) that were donated to the Bedford Food Pantry.

Other projects followed. Some ideas came to members, and others suggested themselves from crafts that were already part of the weekly BACS crafting program held (pre-shutdown) on Wednesday afternoons, 2:00–4:00, at the COA. For example, crafters have held a card-making afternoon about once a month, and many of the cards have found a destination at Cardz for Kidz, sending positive messages to children going through trauma. The card-making effort has continued with Christmas and Valentine’s Day cards for the Bedford VA. Many hands have pitched in, but particular recognition goes to Leslie Gabriele, Teresa Kvietkauskas, and Sandi Rosenfeld for leading these initiatives.

Some months ago, Bedford COA director Alison Cservenschi asked if BACS had use for an assortment of wooden canes. Members decided to repaint and decorate the canes and give them back for seniors to use. BACS crafter Marita Hartshorn took the lead. She brought the canes home, sanding, and putting a base coat on each. Members then used Marita’s suggestions for painting them with colorful designs.

Although the Wednesday crafting sessions have been on hold since the start of the pandemic shutdown, crafters have continued their handiwork from the safety of their homes. For additional information about BACS and its art and craft programs, visit www.bacsma.org

Don’t Miss It! The Bedford Arts and Craft Society’s current juried show at the Bedford Free Public Library is available on its website – Click https://www.bedfordlibrary.net/2020/06/24/virtual-art-gallery/ to see the show.

Will Bedford Day Take Place in Person on September 19?

Will it be safe to hold a conventional Bedford Day parade and street fair on September 19?

If there will be a cancellation, the Select Board will decide no later than August 1.

“It’s very much on people’s radar, but is it safe? Is this the right thing to do?” said Town Manager Sarah Stanton.

Select Board Chair Ed Pierce said, “we’re in a gap period right now, but groups need to order supplies, and if we wait too long some vendors may not be able to react in time.”

Recreation Director Amy Hamilton, who with her department has coordinated Bedford Day activities for many years, said she told the town manager she could wait until August before a decision is necessary. “People sign up online, and it does not take us that long to get things organized,” she said.