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Hadley Board of Health: Reopen cautiously, mindfully 

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

We have a beautiful town; home to 5,000, a place where two to three times that many work and more than five times that number come every day to shop, do business or enjoy the town’s trails, parks or waterways. Our job as the three members of The Hadley Board of Health is to keep everyone as safe as possible — this is a task we cannot do alone.

We are fortunate to live in a state that has provided clear and thoughtful guidelines designed to protect us, individually and collectively, and allow businesses to operate as safely as possible.

Our role as a board is to be as proactive as possible in making this happen as we all learn to live in this new environment where COVID-19 is going to be a factor for the foreseeable future.

Our work is threefold: to be aware of the emerging guidelines coming from the state, work with the town and businesses to help implement these guidelines, and respond to incidents where our citizens report observed problems with compliance. Our process for the latter is to receive calls, visit the reported business and talk to the manager about needed corrective action. To date, we have had great cooperation from most of our businesses. Where there are recurring problems, we have a state-mandated process that leads to verbal warnings, written warnings, fines and ultimately a cease and desist order. We intend to add to this a posting of those businesses that reach the later stages of this process on the Hadley town website.

As we enter Phase 3 this week, we are all happy to see more businesses opening. But as we do open more fully, we need to still be mindful of keeping all of us as safe as possible. This includes social distancing, masks, proper hygiene, and just good decision making that reflects caring for all.

This fall, we will face a big challenge: the reopening of schools. This includes our own preschools, elementary and high schools; a process we all are working to make as safe as possible. The fall will also bring back thousands of college students, faculty and staff. The next few weeks are an opportunity for us to all learn how to make Hadley a role model of safe practices. Only if we succeed can we expect to ask our returning students to follow our lead.

Emma Dragon, RN

Greg Mish

Susan Mosler, M.D.

Hadley Board of Health