Town Administrator Tom Mayo and Assistant Town Administrator Michelle Monsegur gave the following COVID-19 and Town services updates at the Board of Selectmen meeting on May 26, 2020.
- In terms of the latest data, as of last Wednesday, DPH was reporting 237 laboratory-confirmed cases in Hingham.
- As of today, DPH is reporting 93,693 cases in Massachusetts, of which 7,632 are in Plymouth County.
- Please keep in mind that the numbers reported by the state are lower than the actual number of cases, because they only include those who have tested positive.
- About 2.2% of reported Massachusetts cases are currently hospitalized. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has been slowly decreasing since April 21, according to DPH data.
- The percent of people testing positive for COVID-19 continues to decrease as well.
Fields and Courts Reopening
- Per Governor Baker’s Phase 1 reopening plan, Hingham athletic fields and tennis courts are now open with restrictions. Basketball courts and street hockey courts remain closed at this time.
- Although the number of new COVID-19 cases reported each week has started to decrease, the threat of the virus has not yet passed.
- We have sent these guidelines out via email, our website, and on social media, but they are worth reiterating here. Please adhere to the following state guidelines when using athletic fields and tennis courts to help prevent a resurgence of COVID-19:
- Only non-contact sports/activities with no shared equipment are allowed
- No pick-up games or organized games/tournaments are allowed
- No groups larger than 10 are allowed to gather
- Wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a social distance of 6 ft. from others
- Sanitize hands before and after play
- Do not share equipment with others
- Clean and wipe down equipment after use
- Wait outside the field of play until previous users have vacated the facility to ensure proper social distancing
- Thank you for keeping yourself and your neighbors safe by respecting these guidelines and responsibly enjoying Hingham’s outdoor athletic facilities.
Farmers Market Update
- The Hingham Farmers’ Market reported a very successful pilot market this past Saturday at the Station Street parking lot. Over 100 vehicles arrived to collect pre-ordered items from the eight vendors who participated in opening day. Hingham Police and volunteers from HinghamLink assisted with traffic flow and helped everything run smoothly.
Town Meeting Update
- Last Friday, this Board, after consultation with the Town Moderator and public health and safety officials, voted to hold the 2020 Annual Town Meeting outdoors on the Hingham High School football field on Saturday, June 20th at 2:00pm, with a rain date of Sunday, June 21st at 2:00pm.
- We plan to start registration at 12:30pm and will require attendees to practice social distancing for the entire event, starting with waiting in line to check in. Chairs will be placed at least six feet apart, if not more, on the football field.
- We have a team of experts from Town staff working on a comprehensive Town Meeting plan that includes traffic and parking plans, social distancing guidelines, cleaning/sanitization protocols, emergency response preparedness, etc. We will share more details about Town Meeting in the coming weeks and will publish that information through multiple channels.
Town Reopening Plan Update
- While municipal facilities are not yet open to the public, we continue to allow employees limited access to files and equipment necessary to improve their ability to serve the public.
- We are following all state guidance in developing our employee reopening plans, which include employing additional COVID-19-related safety measures related to PPE usage, enhanced cleaning protocols, signage, and training, among other things.
Building Department Update
- Over the last two months since we have been working remotely, Mike Clancy and his Building Department team have issued 459 permits, conducted 780 inspections, responded to over 1,061 phone calls, and responded to 10 after-hours emergencies.
- Staff members have done a great job continuing to serve the homeowners, contractors, and town departments as usual.
Assessing Department Update
- During the last two months, Rick Nowlan and his Assessing team have completed 300-400 exterior property inspections and input approximately 700-900 properties into Vision, our assessment database.
- Right now, they are finishing up abatements from FY20, inputting properties for the FY21 preliminary bill, and preparing for the FY21 interim revaluation.
Recreation Department Update
- Many people have been reaching out to our Recreation Department with questions about summer camps.
- Rec is planning to move forward with their Summer Programs when given the green light by state and local officials. They are moving forward with scheduling and hiring processes in preparation.
- However, they have to wait for state and local government approvals and guidelines, and their programs may look different this year to ensure that they are run in compliance with these new guidelines.
- While no camps are allowed in the current Phase 1, we expect guidance from the state soon about possibly opening recreational day camps on a phased basis in Phase 2.
- Mark Thorell and his team will share more information as it becomes available.
Hingham Public Schools Update
The School Department continues its work on three distinct priorities right now:
- Remote learning 2.0, which is in place and is ongoing until year-end.
- Planning and implementing year-end close out, which involves allowing teachers into classrooms to get personal belongings and organize materials that need to be returned to students, and allowing students to pick up personal belongings, drop off textbooks, technology, library books, etc. All of these things will be managed with social distancing and cleaning high-touch surfaces as the highest priority.
- Staff are beginning to plan for summer school and a September return. Dr. Austin has created four working groups for the planning processes: a) a Recovery Advisory Committee consisting of school and municipal leadership, district staff, and parent and student representation; b) a Finance, Facilities, and Operations Committee; c) a District Instructional Planning/Student Health Committee; and d) a Special Education and Student Services Committee. The School expects more state guidance on protocols for the fall, but discussions are beginning now so they can contemplate and plan for school operations, education platforms, and service delivery.