Saturday, August 28, 2021

COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine updates, including Franklin's vaccine stats - a quick recap

1 - Maura George (@maurageorgemd) tweeted Fri, Aug 27, 2021:
As a mom of 3 little boys, I am desperate to get my kids' childhood back to normal. As a doctor, I want data to know that what we're doing is actually effective. I was floored when I graphed these numbers from ATL schools this week. #maskmandate
Shared from Twitter:

Georgia Dept. of Public Health data ->

COVID-19 cases in Atlanta students, mask mandate
COVID-19 cases in Atlanta students, mask mandate

2. "Children’s hospitals around the country are seeing a surge in Covid-19 patients"
"As the Delta variant grips the country, children who are not yet eligible for vaccination are at higher risk of being infected — especially in places where the virus is surging. A New Orleans children’s hospital had so many Covid-19 patients that a federal “surge team” was called in to bolster an exhausted staff.

Children under 12 may have to wait until the end of the year to get vaccinated. Half of the adolescents in the U.S. have now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the White House said on Friday."
Via the New York Times Friday highlights->

The full article and heart rendering photos can be found ->

3 -  "Why Provincetown’s Response to Its COVID Outbreak Was So Effective"
"Source investigation complements standard contact tracing; it’s not a substitute. When outbreaks are detected, people need to be informed immediately, so they can get tested and ensure they are not unknowingly spreading the virus. Once a cluster is detected, venues should re-evaluate their COVID mitigation measures and ensure that staff are vaccinated and ventilation systems refresh indoor air at least four to six times per hour. High-risk venues should keep lists of patrons, and outreach to customers through social media can be very effective. Mandating that customers are vaccinated, as New York, San Francisco and New Orleans have done, may not suffice to prevent outbreaks. Some European countries are requiring evidence of a negative coronavirus test for unvaccinated people entering indoor entertainment venues.

The Provincetown outbreak occurred as thousands of people arrived to celebrate the Fourth of July, believing their vaccinations would protect them against infection. When infected people began feeling ill, some didn’t immediately attribute their symptoms to COVID-19 because of the widespread belief that breakthrough infections were almost impossible. After the cases emerged, the local health department’s investigation was undoubtedly helped by strong word-of-mouth communication, as many infections affected members of the gay community, a group that for decades has witnessed the effects of the AIDS pandemic. Since then, many local businesses have reassessed their COVID mitigation measures, the town reinstituted an indoor mask mandate and new cases have leveled off."
Also from the New York Times, where the full article can be found ->

4 -CNN’s Leana Wen: ‘Public health is now under attack in a way that it has not been before’

An excerpt from the full interview (which is definitely worth reading to get the full context:
"Yeah. It’s the height of American exceptionalism that we are where we are. I have family in other parts of the world where health-care workers and vulnerable elderly people are begging to get the vaccine. And here, we’re sitting on stockpiles and begging people to take the vaccine.

I think how we got here is complicated, right? I agree with the surgeon general in issuing the advisory about misinformation and disinformation — certainly that plays a big role here. There are individuals out there who are knowingly spreading misinformation. There are others who are clicking and then, unfortunately, sharing misinformation that’s leading to question that and the efficacy of vaccines. That misinformation is taking away people’s freedom to make decisions for themselves and their families.

And I think the Biden administration needs to take some responsibility here, also, for their miscalculation and misjudgment in being so uneasy about vaccine verification and relying on the honor code. Come on. Did they really think that the honor system was going to work during a pandemic when many people behaved so dishonorably? The honor system did not work. And, of course, the unvaccinated are now running around living their lives as if they are vaccinated. And that’s led to the surge that we are now seeing. We lost the powerful incentive to increase vaccines in that really important window."

5 - Via the DPH weekly updates, here is the vaccine statistics by age group for Franklin, Not that the population up to 11 years old is excluded as the vaccine is not yet authorized for them.

Boston Globe article with their coverage on this week's data

My downloaded copy filtered for Franklin data (as of 8/26/21)

The full data file can be found on the MA Gov page

Franklin's vaccine stats as of 8/26/21
Franklin's vaccine stats as of 8/26/21

The Franklin Interact Club is looking for new members. Could that be you?

Franklin Interact Club (@FranklinIntera1) tweeted Fri, Aug 27, 2021:
Looking for youth volunteers to join Interact!
Shared from Twitter:

For more about the Franklin Interact Club, listen to the podcast episode from Aug 2020

The Interact Club is part of the Rotary, you can hear some members of the Rotary talk about the overall club and history as well as the new Interact Club

Franklin Interact Club is looking for new members. Could that be you?
Franklin Interact Club is looking for new members. Could that be you?

New story walk is up at the SNETT, a cool day for a walk!

"The new #storywalk is up! You can find it at Center St trailhead in Bellingham (198 Center St for your GPS). Enjoy!

#SNETT #railtrail #FBRTC #BellinghamMA #FranklinMA #massdcr
— at Southern New England Trunkline Trail."
Shared from Facebook:

New story walk is up at the SNETT, a cool day for a walk!
New story walk is up at the SNETT, a cool day for a walk!

Wicked Local: "Here's why 16-year-old twins got the COVID vaccine today in Franklin"

"When you have a twin, it goes without saying that you will be doing a lot of things in tandem.

And for Franklin's Gerety twins — 16-year-olds Brendan and Shawn — on Wednesday this included rolling up their sleeves together and getting their first vaccination shot against COVID-19.

The two teens were among those who elected to take advantage of a state Department of Public Health mobile vaccination clinic that the town's Health Department hosted outside the Davis Thayer School.

Every set of twins has matching qualities, but also some differences. In this case, one Gerety was a tad nervous about getting the vaccination; the other was not."
Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)
ice cream was sponsored by Franklin TV
ice cream was sponsored by Franklin TV

Franklin Veterans - September Coffee Social - Sep 1, 2021 - 10 AM

September Coffee Social!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 - 10:00 AM

Hello Veterans,

It's hard to believe summer's almost over and September is upon us!

Please join us for our monthly Coffee Social:

When: Wednesday, September 1

Time: 10:00 AM

Where: Senior Center Multi-Purpose Room

As of today, masks are optional.

Franklin native Joe Landry will make a special photo presentation of:


We hope you can join us for coffee, conversation and a look back at Franklin in times gone by.

As always, all veterans are welcome. Feel free to invite others who may not be on our contact list!

Shared from Town of Franklin page ->

Franklin Veterans - September Coffee Social - Sep 1, 2021 - 10 AM
Franklin Veterans - September Coffee Social - Sep 1, 2021 - 10 AM

The Lancetet: "Drowning prevention: turning the tide on a leading killer"


"Drowning is a leading killer, particularly of children and young adults, yet has been greatly neglected. Despite accounting for a higher number of deaths than many other substantial public health issues, drowning has not benefitted from the targeted attention it requires, which is particularly tragic because low cost and effective drowning prevention interventions exist. 
Therefore, the recent UN General Assembly's adoption of a resolution on global drowning prevention is a historic first, and offers an exciting opportunity by providing a comprehensive framework and a practical roadmap that a range of actors and sectors, including governments, can follow to address the challenge of drowning prevention."
Continue reading the article online

Recent articles on drowning by the Boston Globe

A child holds her breath underwater while participating in a swimming class in this 2014 file photo. JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF
A child holds her breath underwater while participating in a swimming class in this 2014 file photo. JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF

Report: "Massachusetts Cities and Towns Leading the Way to 100% Renewable Energy"

"Cities and towns are taking ambitious steps to increase renewable electricity generation, reduce energy use, and shift to clean heating technologies, according to a new report from the Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center.

“The best ideas for clean energy often start at the local level,” said Ben Hellerstein, state director for the center. “If we want to have cleaner air, healthier communities, and a safer future for our children, we need to move rapidly toward 100% renewable energy from sources like the sun and the wind. These communities are showing how to make it happen.”

The report, Renewable Communities 2021, features the following seven case studies of Massachusetts cities, towns and regional agencies that are leading the way to 100% renewable energy. "

Continue reading the article online

Visit Environmental Massachusetts for more information ->

Report:  "Massachusetts Cities and Towns Leading the Way to 100% Renewable Energy"
Report:  "Massachusetts Cities and Towns Leading the Way to 100% Renewable Energy"

Study gives pause for consideration of the foods we eat

If you consider a 'balanced diet' as offsetting a hotdog with nuts, why should you put your body through the trouble?

"Eating a hot dog could cost you 36 minutes of healthy life, while choosing to eat a serving of nuts instead could help you gain 26 minutes of extra healthy life, according to a University of Michigan study.

The study, published in the journal Nature Food, evaluated more than 5,800 foods, ranking them by their nutritional disease burden to humans and their impact on the environment. It found that substituting 10% of daily caloric intake from beef and processed meats for a mix of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and select seafood could reduce your dietary carbon footprint by one-third and allow people to gain 48 minutes of healthy minutes per day.

“Generally, dietary recommendations lack specific and actionable direction to motivate people to change their behavior, and rarely do dietary recommendations address environmental impacts,” said Katerina Stylianou, who did the research as a doctoral candidate and postdoctoral fellow in the the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at U-M’s School of Public Health. She currently works as the Director of Public Health Information and Data Strategy at the Detroit Health Department.


Based on their findings, the researchers suggest:

  • Decreasing foods with the most negative health and environmental impacts including high processed meat, beef, shrimp, followed by pork, lamb and greenhouse-grown vegetables.
  • Increasing the most nutritionally beneficial foods, including field-grown fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and low-environmental impact seafood."

Continue reading the article

The radar picked this up via Twitter: "New study finds one food can actually take 36 minutes off your life each time you eat it"

Study gives pause for consideration of the foods we eat
Study gives pause for consideration of the foods we eat

Friday, August 27, 2021

Franklin's Event Outlook: Aug 27 - Sep 3, 2021

Ah, the heat wave continues today and, if forecasts hold true, also ends today. Hopefully, bringing us a cooler remainder of the weekend.  Farmers Market today and concert at THE BLACK BOX tonight highlight the weekend events. The one indoor 'cool' place to check out is the Historical Museum which is open Saturday and Sunday, especially if you haven't ever stopped by.

Friday, August 27
2:00pm - Farmers Market
3:30pm - Kids craft activity by Library Youth Services
8:00pm - TBB: The Zajac Brothers Band

Saturday, August 28
10:00am - Historical Museum (always free)

Sunday, August 29
1:00pm - Historical Museum (always free)

If you have an event to add to the calendar, you can use the form to submit it for publication:

The Town meeting calendar is found
The School district meeting calendar is found
Community Calendar
Community Calendar

Veterans Memorial Walkway - brick order deadline for Nov 2021 installation is Sep 17

Order an engraved brick for Veterans Day 2021

Honor your special veteran with an engraved brick this Veterans Day! Bricks may be purchased to pay tribute to anyone who served or is currently serving in the U.S. military.

The deadline for the November orders is September 17, 2021. Thanks to all who have honored our veterans by supporting this project!

Brick order forms are available at:

Please contact the Veterans Services Office at: (508) 613-1315 for more information.

Debra Martin
Franklin Veterans Services
10 Daniel McCahill Street
Franklin, MA 02038
T: 508.613.1315

BTW - if you have bought a brick and could not find where it is located, there is now a database of the bricks and installation points. The sections are numbered and rows identified whether starting from the Union St side or the Main St side.

Veterans Memorial Walkway Update
Veterans Memorial Walkway Update

FM #591 & 592 - School Committee Meeting - 08/24/21 - audio recording in 2 parts

FM #591 & 592 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, numbers 591 & 592 in the series. 

This session of the radio show shares the Franklin, MA School Committee meeting held on Tuesday, August 24, 2021.

The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format: the School Committee members were in the Municipal Bldg along with some of the public, other members of the public joined via conference bridge, all to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

The recording runs about an hour and forty eight minutes (1 hour 48 minutes), so I split the meeting into two segments:

  • First - covers the opening, the handbook updates, and re-opening status (~56 mins)

  • Second - covers the citizens comments on the masking policy from DESE, the consent agenda, through to the closing of the meeting (~53 mins)

Links to the meeting agenda and associated documents released for this meeting are included in the show notes. The link to my notes taken during the meeting is also provided.

Let’s listen to this segment of the School Committee meeting Aug 24, 2021


Part 1 ->

Part 2 ->


School Committee Agenda doc (including connection info) ->


Agenda folder ->

My notes captured during the meeting 


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial.  

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.


How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit or

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"


FM #591 & 592 - School Committee Meeting - 08/24/21 - audio recording in 2 parts
FM #591 & 592 - School Committee Meeting - 08/24/21 - audio recording in 2 parts

MIAA statement on indoor mask wearing mandate

MIAA (@MIAA033) tweeted on Thu, Aug 26, 2021:
Read #MIAA statement from Executive Director Bob Baldwin regarding the recent indoor mask wearing mandate by @MASchoolsK12  

MIAA statement on indoor mask wearing mandate
MIAA statement on indoor mask wearing mandate


"Climate change is fundamentally an issue of health equity and racial justice"

"AS THE WILDFIRES raged out west on July 26, we woke up to a hazy sky that was uncharacteristic of the Boston area.  The usual clear and clean skies of living next to the ocean disappeared and our air quality hit a dangerous and “unhealthy” level.  As healthcare workers looking at this thick smog, we knew to expect additional emergency department and office visits for respiratory complaints.  People with asthma, including children, would have a harder time breathing because of the increased soot and particles in the air. This polluted air may also increase the transmission of COVID-19.

The fact that our air could be polluted from wildfires on the other side of the country is a stark reminder of our interconnectedness. It demonstrates that no one is safe from the ravages of climate change.  Thousands of people in the Pacific Northwest visited emergency departments because of the extreme heatwave that swept through their communities this summer. Here in Boston, we experienced the hottest June on record, followed by the wettest July on record, and in August a tropical storm. As this is being published, we are in the midst of the fourth heat wave of 2021. For us, this translates into an unacceptable increase in the number of patients being treated in hospitals for heat exhaustion and asthma exacerbations."

Continue reading the article online
Natalia Linos, a co-author of this article, is executive director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and a regular contributor to the radio show "Toward a More Perfect Union"

We Are Convened - In Order to Form a More Perfect Union

More Perfect Union can be found on Google Podcast (among others)

We Are Convened - In Order to Form a More Perfect Union
We Are Convened - In Order to Form a More Perfect Union #COVID19MA vaccine update - Aug 26, 2021 (@MassGov) tweeted Thu, Aug 26, 2021:
Today's #COVID19MA vaccine update:

- 10,262,940 doses shipped to MA
- 9,146,498 total doses administered, 11,417 more than yesterday
- 4,472,630 people are fully vaccinated.

Read the full report:
Shared from Twitter: #COVID19MA vaccine update #COVID19MA vaccine update

The Hill: "At least 90,000 students have had to quarantine because of COVID-19 so far this school year"

"Just weeks into the new school year, at least 90,000 children in 19 states have had to or are currently quarantining or isolating after contracting COVID-19 or coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the disease.

The disruptions have caused uncertainty for parents, students and school districts that had hoped to resume in-person instruction after a year marked by lockdowns and virtual learning.

The staggering number of K-12 students under quarantine is largely driven by the highly infectious delta variant that has taken hold as the dominant strain in the U.S.


Bans on school mask mandates and the fact that no vaccines have been approved for children under 12 are helping to drive cases."

Continue reading the article online

Franklin Public Schools, MA: still looking to hire qualified candidates

FPS is hiring for a variety of positions districtwide.

We are seeking substitute teachers, school nurses, educational support professionals and more.

View the full list of employment opportunities here:


Shared from Twitter:

The list of employment opportunities can also be found here

Note: The School Committee and eventually the Town Council approved the budget to operate the school district. That authorization includes a set number of positions to fill, only a few of which were net new positions to the district. This continued hiring is to fill open slots created  by retirements, resignations and personnel which the district determined not to renew the contracts of. "New" teachers may be new to the district, they are not (aside from the few mentioned) new positions.

Franklin Public Schools, MA: still looking to hire qualified candidates
Franklin Public Schools, MA: still looking to hire qualified candidates

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Recap: School Committee meeting - 8/24/21

Quick Recap:
  • The School Committee voted to adjust the agenda removing the mask policy from discussion for now as the DESE decision on masks was made earlier during the day and takes precedence. Comment time was provided and extended to accommodate the antivaccine folks
  • In regular business, the handbooks modified for this school year were approved unanimously. Health and Safety was split into a separate section to acknowledge the COVID-19 protocols, With the approval, the handbooks will be distributed to the families in advance of school opening this year.
  • Chair Bergen took a couple of minutes to thank those who have taken out papers to run for School Committee, letting them know this is an apolitical position, separate from the Town in many ways, there is an 8 hour course required to provide insights on how to operate successfully and legally within the guidelines. A good thing to make folks aware of. At least one successful candidate last time was even aware of the two meeting a month commitment until after they were elected. It is better to be prepared.


As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session


The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #schcom0824 


Agenda doc (including connection info) ->


Agenda folder ->


  • Live reporting underway the School Committee meeting tonight. #schcom0824
  • Agenda item on masking for students taken off agenda given DESE action earlier today. #schcom0824
  • Citizen comment on the poor audio internal in the Chambers last week for the Policy subcommittee meeting was held #schcom0824
  • Superintendent's report, doc shared the day after the meeting; new faculty orientation this week, approx. 35 participating. Q prior on surplus text where to go? Places/orgs defined. #schcom0824
  • Thanks to the custodial and facility staff for their work to prep for opening, DPW for work on the grounds, Technology for their work preparing equipment for this year Motion and second to remove the policy items from agenda, passes 7-0 #schcom0824
  • Accept collaborative update, superintendent represents the district req to create a fund for capital accounts, students go out of district, about 10 students participate in accept training; Pfeffer has a host of questions; Q's answered motion passes 6-0-1 (stokes recuses)
  • Handbook updates provided by Giguere in coordination with the school vice principals (and legal review), health and safety in a separate section of handbooks, free lunch for all students this year. #schcom0824
  • Health and safety section: And presentation doc  #schcom0824
  • Highlights in the presentation cover changes from last year to this #schcom0824 Info from DESE expected on masks and social distancing - no minimum standard to go for this year. Lunch will be hard, K-8 easier than FHS
  • Testing options proposed #schcom0824 sub coverage for staff is a potential worry (as it was last year)
  • Visitors will be allowed this year and monitored carefully #schcom0824 clarification on a few points around the presentation and discussion Chair Bergen provides insights on background before the comment section (20 mins)
  • Parent comment on dissatisfaction with #schcom0824; parent of student with IEP and issues with mask and speech; parent says there is no room for mandate; parent upset with mask as incentive for vaccine and 80% as the requirement; parent (via zoom) (with poor connection)
  • #schcom0824 parent wants to get the info out on the testing are they authorized tests? Or emergency authorized?; Parent commending SchComm for their work; parent respectfully disagrees with other speakers who claimed they included her; difference between tests/ timing of exposure
  • Bridget Sweet, Board of Health Chair, acknowledges working with the School district to work with the guidelines from DESE. Asking to take heart that the BoH is doing what is best for everyone #schcom0824
  • Parent asking for school work for those who are out under quarantine; #schcom0824 parent says no evidence for folks with masks and learning effects, need real metrics for when it will end; Superintendent responds on 3 points, goal the same, measures may differ ...
  • 1 things are fluid, there will be updates, 2 binex now (?) is an antigen test and a nasal swab. The committee vote on the handbook as discussed, moved and second, passes 7-0 #schcom0824
  • Back to school report #schcom0824 Hockomock League still working on the sports protocol Still active in hiring, job fair had 15 candidates appeared last night, getting close to closing in on staff for this year
  • Info matters - Jumped back to new hiring list, clarification how and why, can they be supported by the budget! Yes, they are backfills for existing roles Policy to set meeting, with DESE guidance to be reviewed #schcom0824 thanks to those setting up to run for SchComm
  • 8 hour course required for SchComm, apolitical role, separate from town, #schcom0824 Next meeting, district improvement plan, etc. Motion on 8/10 minutes, second, passes 6-0-1 (Jen abstains) Consent agenda, motion to accept, seconded, passes 7-0
  • Motion to adjourn , passes 7-0 That's all for tonight, catch you next time! #schcom0824


Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days


Superintendent Ahern updating the SchComm without her mask at the request of one member who couldn't hear her with the mask
Superintendent Ahern updating the SchComm without her mask at the request of one member who couldn't hear her with the mask