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  • Writer's pictureDJ Mara

Worcester Elected Officials Reflect on Continued COVID-19 Response

Elected officials from Worcester, New England’s second largest city, have been taking a swift response to COVID-19, and continue to do so. Two members, one from each chamber of Worcester’s bicameral government, reflect on the city’s response.




ABOVE LEFT: Laura Clancey, a Worcester Native, serving her first term as a Worcester School Committee Member. ABOVE RIGHT: Sean Rose, a Middleboro native, serving his second term as District 1 City Councilor.   


WORCESTER: For the past 8 months, Worcester has been just one of the thousands of cities across the United States dealing with the aftershocks of COVID-19.


To date, Worcester has 14,864 reported cases and 1,125 reported deaths. In turn, the city has a 0.88% positivity rate.


Since the first case of COVID-19, the City of Worcester has taken swift action on many fronts to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  


Education 

On March 13th, all of the Worcester Public schools were ordered closed for the weekend for routine cleaning. After multiple executive actions by Gov. Charlie Baker, schools remained closed through the end of June 2020.


Over the Summer, the Worcester School Committee was hard at work on developing a plan for learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.


 Laura Clancey, a member of the Worcester School Committee, has worked alongside her colleagues on implementing a remote learning program this school year, as well as strengthening communication with families.


According to Ms. Clancey, “Technologies the district are implementing this year include the use of video conferencing (i.e. Zoom and Google Meet), as well as a universal Chromebook and iPad technology program for all WPS students.”  


Economic Stability 

The economy of Worcester has been affected by COVID-19, like many prominent cities across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the United States.

District 1 City Councilor Sean Rose serves as Vice Chair on the council’s Committee on Economic Development. Along with District 2 City Councilor Candy Mero Carlson and District 5 Councilor Matthew Wally, Councilor Rose has been on the frontlines of Worcester’s economic plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.


To counter the economic impact of COVID-19, the City of Worcester has implemented a hiring freeze on city employees, to be fiscally responsible, according to Councilor Rose.


Ultimately, there will be an economic impact in every city, town, and municipality across the Commonwealth. However, many responsible cities and towns have taken up measures to help stimulate local economies to avoid economic recession or chaos.  


Safety Guidelines

The City of Worcester has been going in accordance with the public health guidance issued by Governor Charlie Baker since March. Masks are a requirement when not able to socially distance, as well as inside many public markets and common areas. Citizens are encouraged to wash hands and hand sanitize frequently. However, the most important thing that citizens can do is listen to new guidance issued by public health officials.  


Overall Response and Next Steps

School Committee Member Clancey believes that the citizens of Worcester have responded well to mask mandates, as well as washing and sanitizing hands and surfaces. She believes that in order to keep the curve flattened, citizens need to, “stop holding large gatherings, as they lead to cluster cases.”


Councilor Rose believes that the citizens have responded well by stimulating the “Worcester Together Fund” with over $15,000,000, to be utilized for plans for the city’s most vulnerable populations, as well as essential workers. He believes that “people must not think of the death toll from COVID-19 as a statistic. These are people’s moms and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters that we are losing to this disease. We must keep our guard up, follow protocols, and listen to public officials.”


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