Massachusetts to audit 2 school districts; 22 new COVID-19 deaths


BOSTON (AP/WPRI) — Massachusetts education officials have made good on a promise to audit school districts that have not updated their timeline for bringing students back for in-person instruction despite community coronavirus transmission rates considered safe.

State Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley in a letter to school committees in East Longmeadow and Watertown wrote he is concerned each district is not “aligning its reopening model” with public health metrics.

Riley and Gov. Charlie Baker have said only school districts in communities considered high-risk for coronavirus transmission for three consecutive weeks should have remote-only learning.

Massachusetts reported 22 newly confirmed coronavirus deaths and more than 640 newly confirmed cases Wednesday.

Full breakdown of COVID-19 data ( »

Gov. Charlie Baker and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll held a press briefing on Wednesday to discourage people from visiting Salem this Halloween.

Earlier this year, Halloween events and haunted happenings were cancelled, and while crowds dropped off a lot, the mayor says there are still too many people going to Salem.

On Wednesday, Driscoll announced new measures that will be in effect for the next two weekends leading up to Halloween, including parking garages closing early and commuter rail trains not making stops in the city.

Businesses will also start winding down operations by 8 p.m. to avoid lines and cars parking on streets will be ticketed and towed, the mayor added.

“We normally welcome throngs of visitors from around the globe to our community and our residents are typically wonderful ambassadors of that,” Driscoll said. “This is just not the year and we really want to send the message, if you’re coming to Salem, come in November. Save it for next year if you are intent on coming for haunted happenings or Halloween.”

Fines for bad behavior are also being tripled in these last two weekends, but that is normal for October in Salem.

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