March 17 COVID-19 Update
Posted on 03/17/2020
3/17/20 COVID-19 Update

March 17, 2020

Town Manager’s Update on Covid-19 Actions in Foxborough

 A lot has happened in the last few days as the Town continues to respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

Since last week the following steps have been taken in Foxborough:

- I am pleased to report that Foxborough does not have any cases as of today. However we all know that it is just a matter of time before some cases become identified.  With the emergence of greater testing capability, our officials believe that we will see a bit of a spike in the number of cases.  While that may seem alarming at first, it actually is good news in that we are going to have a better handle on the number of possible cases within the community.  We can then refocus some of our mitigation efforts to address the situations as they become known to us.   We will continue to keep the community informed on this situation as it continues to evolve. 

- Effective March 16, 2020 School is closed in Foxborough for the next three weeks; per order of Governor Baker.  As of Friday, March 13, 2020, the School Superintendent and School Committee had determined that school should be closed starting on Monday.  Actions taken on Sunday, March 15th by Governor Baker changed the period of closing in Foxborough from two weeks to three weeks.  The Governor recommended that all schools be closed as of Monday March 16, 2020 for three weeks throughout the Commonwealth. 

- Governor Baker also provided relief to Cities and Towns by loosening the requirements surrounding the State’s Open Meeting Law and allowing for “virtual” meetings.  This means that members of various Town Boards and Committees can now telecast their meetings from home or offsite through some form of electronic medium.  However, the temporary order further provides that there needs to be some ability for the public to participate.  If that is not possible then the minutes of the meeting need to be available as soon as possible following the meeting so that the public can remain informed.  Some or all Board members can participate in a virtual manner.  Prior to the action taken by the Governor, the State law limited virtual participation to just a few members provided that a quorum of “in person” members were present at the meeting location.  This emergency action removed that restriction.  All other provisions of the Open Meeting Law will remain in place throughout the duration of this emergency action period.   

- At Noon time on Monday, March 16, 2020, the Town took the unprecedented steps of locking down Town Hall and allowing only limited access to the general public into the building until further notice.  All staff members are continuing to work while we provide alternative methods of doing business for the immediate future.  Individuals may contact the Town to transact business by appointment only or they can contact the Town and transact business electronically or through the drop off mail slot located next to the front door of the Town Hall.  If anyone is going to be allowed into the building, they will be screened first.  This will be done by asking the patron a series of questions that have be provided to us by our public safety and health officials.  The reason this step was taken was to preserve the health and safety of all staff members from possible infection.  If one person in the Town Hall were to get sick, it could have far reaching ramifications for keeping your local government operational.  Our primary goal is to provide essential public services to the Community.  In order to do that, we must take some extraordinary steps to preserve the health of those individuals who provide that service.

- COA/Human Services have discontinued their programs until further notice.  Some limited services are still being provided by request.  The staff in both the Town Hall and in the Senior Center are continuing to perform essential public services but have had to scale back regular programs to help protect the Community over the long term.   All indications are from the health professionals are that the elderly population is the most vulnerable to this virus.  Therefore, we have significantly scaled back all of our interactive programs for the protection of this segment of the Town’s population.   Meals on Wheels will remain in place along with other critical Human Services needs for residents of Foxborough.  Anyone needing these services can continue to contact the COA/Human Services Center and someone will assist you.  Call 508-542-1252

- Services in the Library and Recreation Programs are now limited or postponed for the time being.  Boyden Library will continue to provide curb side drop off of materials for those who request them.  Residents can continue to contact the Boyden Library at 508-543-1245 and they will assist you if they can.

- Recreation programs are not functioning at any of their locations for now.  They are looking into developing some online offerings for residents and may be coming out with some programs shortly. 

- Public Works and Public Safety will continue to perform their usual high level of service throughout the community.  There are limited changes to their service model though they are taking extra precautionary steps to protect the community and themselves from contracting the virus.

- On Monday Morning, March 16th the Emergency Management Team met at that Gala Meeting room to go over all the latest information available.  We discussed all the directives coming from the President and from the Governor to determine what steps are needed here in Foxborough.

- The Board of Selectmen will continue to meet on Tuesday Night but members now have the ability to meet “virtually” as was have stated earlier.  It is a busy agenda but we do encourage residents to watch it on Foxborough Cable Access and not attend the meeting unless you have business before the Board.  We will all be practicing safe social distancing and appreciate your cooperation in following this guideline if you do attend the meeting.

- Finally, this is an unprecedented period in history that one day we will look back on and say that the community did some extraordinary things that resulted in the protection of the health, safety and welfare of our residents.  Continue to look out for your neighbors and don’t be afraid to offer assistance when they need it.  Of course, at all times use appropriate, safe measures in offering help.  Wash your hands and practice social distancing and use common sense approaches in addressing situations as they arise.  I remain confident that we will all get through this together if we all follow these simple approaches.

Stay tuned for more updates as they become available and above all stay safe!