Many towns throughout Massachusetts are producing local town COVID-19 metrics dashboards. Today, we are highlighting the metrics dashboard of Wellesley, MA. This dashboard distinguishes itself because of its Wellesley Public School (WPS) metrics statistics displayed on two different dashboards. On the main town dashboard https://coronavirus-wellesleyma.hub.arcgis.com/ you will see a “Measure 3″ that (See Figure to left) reporting the pooled positive case incidence rate and positivity percent for public school faculty and staff. Why is this number important? Over 90% of WPS faculty and staff reside in towns outside of Wellesley, while over 96% of students reside in Wellesley. The teacher unions were initially concerned that in-person learning would expose teachers and staff to a high risk of COVID-19 infection. Measure 3 provides information on the differences between the statistics from the State, County, Town and WPS faculty and staff pooled residence statistics.
Data as of Thursday October 29, 2020 showed that the pooled positive case incidence rate for faculty and staff was 8.42 per 100,000 individuals, and 3.4 per 100,000 for the Town of Wellesley. Percents positive were 1.18% for faculty and staff and 0.17% for the Town of Wellesley. The statistics reflect that the 1,129 faculty and staff working in the Wellesley School System reside in 166 different jurisdictions throughout the Commonwealth, as well as a few from New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Their statistics reflect a trending more toward the overall rates of the state at 11.8/100,00 and 3.4% . Wellesley’s rate falls within the lowest incidence and percent positivity rates as compared to the state overall and other towns and cities in the state.
Another unique aspect about the Wellesley COVID public reporting is that the Wellesley School Committee has contracted with Mirimus Clinical Labs to be the first town in the Commonwealth to offer “pooled surveillance testing” using the SalivaClear™ testing procedure for all faculty and staff and students in middle school and high school. The surveillance testing which was originally piloted on October 23, 2020 has now offered testing for up to 4,400 faculty and staff between October 26, 2020 and November 4, 2020. The testing is completely voluntary and will continue at least through the end of the year. The Wellesley School Committee has also created a Wellesley Public School COVID-19 Dashboard that reports the number of individuals testing positive by date regardless of the source of testing (see Figure below). The date range can be customized in order to evaluate trends.