City of Newburyport
Office of the Mayor
Donna D. Holaday
60 Pleasant St.
Newburyport, MA 01950
March 12, 2020
City and School Establish First Set of Protocols to Deal with COVID-19
The City has been carefully monitoring the impact of the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19 and working closely with local, state and federal agencies on protecting the health and safety of all residents. Today we met with Mark Goldstein, Executive Director of Anna Jaques Hospital (AJH) and Dr. Gayle Fayre, Chief Medical Director to discuss the latest updates on the coronavirus.
First and foremost, I can’t stress enough how important is for residents to practice good hygiene. Hand washing is one of the most basic but also most important ways to prevent the spread of germs. Hand sanitizers should also be used frequently.
Based on the literature provided by the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Health (DPH) and confirmed by AJH, Covid-19 is predominantly spread by droplets that can stay active on surfaces. Therefore we all should be sterilizing your environments frequently and practicing good hygiene to limit the spread of germs.
I also strongly encourage residents to stay home and not report to work or school or other public places of gathering if you or a family member is sick. Regardless of the current coronavirus situation, this is an effective way to contain the spread of disease. A vast number of individuals inflicted with COVID-19 will not get very sick and only display mild like symptoms. Even is the symptoms are mild, it is important to stay home and allow the illness to run its course. If you are not feeling well just stay home and help prevent putting others at risk. There is a significant portion of our population that is especially susceptible to COVID-19 and it is important that we limit their exposure as much as possible. The elderly, those with underlying medical conditions, and those whose immune systems are already compromised are especially at risk of becoming gravely sick if they are afflicted with coronavirus. While children appear to be most resistant to COVID-19 they are also able to quickly spread the disease.
Finally, if you have to be in public settings, keep your distance and adhere to social distancing guidelines. And don’t forget to wash your hands and sanitize.
Following the AJH meeting, all Department Heads including Public Health, Public Safety and School personnel met and agreed on the following protocols and recommendations that take effect immediately for all departments and personnel. Protocols will remain in effect for a minimum of two weeks with weekly meetings to re-evaluate all protocols that may be extended and modified as necessary.
CITY of NEWBURYPORT PROTOCOLS & RECOMMENDATIONS
Tier I: Precautions to mitigate spread of coronavirus
- Passport Office at City Hall is closed until further notice
- The senior volunteer tax work off program is temporarily suspended
- All programming at the Senior Community Center is cancelled between 8 am-4pm Monday through Friday; Meals on Wheels will continue to be distributed from the center and transportation for seniors will continue to be provided as well as tax preparation assistance by appointment only Mondays and Wednesdays
- Library will remain open at this point but no public room rentals; all group programming is cancelled at library and Emma Andrews Library and Community Center until further notice
- Youth Services and Learning Enrichment Center – all programming cancelled until further notice
- All city and school employees are restricted from attending out-of-state meetings or conferences
- Any employee who travels from restricted/high risk areas must reach out to their supervisor and follow DPH requirements for isolation/quarantine until asymptomatic
- An employee with high risk status should work with Human Resources on individual needs, doctor’s orders and potential leaves
- All field trips, international travel and out-of-state trips are cancelled
- All large assemblies (100+) are cancelled/postponed
- Sporting events: winter sports have ended and awaiting direction from MA Interscholastic Athletic Association regarding spring sports that start in 3 weeks
- School closures are a real possibility and families should begin to prepare for coverage
- Superintendent remains in constant contact with State Commissioner and Superintendents on closing policies
- Superintendent and staff working on a contingency plan if schools need to close in order to provide basic academic support for students, such as google classroom
- All meetings that can be postponed should be; if time sensitive, review agendas and limit to only critical items
- All subcommittee meetings should be postponed whenever possible until we can get better direction from State on remote access
- School Committee and City Council meetings will continue to be held but we strongly recommend public access occur through home viewing on local cable; we are looking at options for public comment
- All communications must be vetted by Frank Giacalone, Health Director, Sean Gallagher, Superintendent and/or Mayor before release or posted
- Department Heads and School Personnel must maintain communication with Health Department regarding all staff in isolation/quarantine
- Residents needing support for food/groceries or picking up meds should reach out to Youth Services 978-465-4434 or the Council on Aging 978-462-0403; Youth Services may also be able to help with babysitting with the many college students being sent home
Thank you in advance for your cooperation. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you have questions or concerns.