Graduation for Class of 2020 to Be Virtual
Chelsea High Principal Mark Martineau took to Facebook last week to publicly announce that the district has moved quick to secure a vendor so as to have a virtual graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020.
The move seems necessary, but was incredibly unpopular amongst the class – many of whom had not heard of the idea until it was announced.
“I hate the current pandemic is taking this away from you and your families,” he said. “We don’t know when we’ll be able to be back together again and we don’t know what changes will be in place when we are able to get back together. What we do know is we want to honor our students. The online or virtual graduation was an idea as a way to have this honor… Our intention was to move quickly to secure a vendor and not to limit student participation.”
He said they would have a Town Hall for students and parents online in the coming weeks to talk about what it entails and why they made the decision. He said many video production companies have pivoted to start providing virtual graduations, and they have been swarmed with requests from schools. That caused the quick decision to be made so there was something rather than nothing.
“Many of you have heard we are planning an online graduation this year, and many have voiced your displeasure for a lack of in-person graduation to honor your four years of hard work or even just to have a voice in that decision,” he said. “Thank you for making your feelings known. But let me be clear. The last thing I want to happen is to have no graduation or celebration at all. That is not an option.”
He said the advantage is that there is a definite moment to celebrate, and time won’t go by to an extent where suddenly nothing happens.
“I can think of no greater disservice than to have no recognition at all,” he said.
Chelsea officials were able to find a good vendor they like, discussed it with the class officers, and moved quickly to secure a potential date, which will be revealed soon. However, it doesn’t mean it is the final thing that will be done for seniors.
“This does not have to be the final thing we do to honor our seniors nor does it have to be the only thing we do,” he said.
He encouraged students and parent with ideas and suggestions to reach out.
CAPIC Fuel Assistance Update – You May Now Be Eligible!
COVID-19 is affecting us all whether it’s our health, household income, our social well-being or a combination of all three. If you are a resident of Chelsea, Winthrop or Revere and are finding it difficult to keep up with home heating expense during this time please do not hesitate to reach out to CAPIC. All applications can be completed remotely. Call today, you may be surprised you qualify! Please call 617-884-6130.
Getting Food to Everyone in Need: Updates
Pop-Up Food Pantries are continuing to serve the people of Chelsea, providing boxes of food every weekday beginning at 11 a.m. The City is increasing our food supply daily so that everyone who needs food can get it. With this in mind, please be patient and mindful of your neighbors in need. Some families have more immediate need than others and we want to make sure that everyone gets to eat.
Pop-up Pantry Locations:
Quigley Park, 25 Essex Street
Ruiz Park, 141 Washington Avenue
Luther Place, Cherry Street, between 5th Street and 4th Street
Bellingham Hill Park, 115 Bellingham Street
Washington Park, at Washington Ave and Hancock Street
Bosson Park, 43-56 Bellingham Street
Chelsea Square, near 2 Second Street
Highland Park, in front of 30 Willow Street
City Hall Parking lot, 500 Broadway
Mary C. Burke Complex, 300 Crescent Avenue
Temporary Housing for Residents to Safely Recover from COVID-19
Beginning April 16, the Quality Inn in Revere will be used as temporary housing for Chelsea and Revere residents sick with COVID-19 who are in need of a safe, non-overcrowded place to recover. Eligible residents are:
•confirmed by testing to have the virus,
•confirmed by a doctor that they do not need hospital care,
•and living in overcrowded housing where it is difficult to self-quarantine (stay separated from others).
Those meeting these qualifications will be further evaluated by healthcare professionals to determine if the Quality Inn will provide appropriate temporary isolation housing for their unique circumstances. Isolated individuals at the Quality Inn will receive care from Partners HealthCare medical professionals, along with food and hygiene supplies provided by MEMA. There will also be mental health support services from North Suffolk Mental Health Association. This safe housing option will be available for 60 days.
Diaper Drive for Families in Need
Chelsea Community Connections and the City of Chelsea are working together to distribute diapers to families in need. Because of the tremendous demand, distribution is dependent on donations of both packages of diapers and funds to purchase supply.
Anyone who would like to donate to the Diaper Drive can do so at the Chelsea Community Connections website. This will ensure the youngest Chelsea residents have their basic needs met.
MGH Chelsea, Beth Israel Offers Testing for Those with Symptoms
Patients with symptoms of Covid-19 are eligible for testing at MGH Chelsea and Beth Israel Chelsea.
One doesn’t need to be a patient of MGH to qualify. There is also not a need to have health insurance, and immigration status does not matter.
Appointments are STRONGLY encouraged, but walk-ins will not be turned away. If anyone has one of the following symptoms, please call 617-724-7000, to schedule an appointment for evaluation and testing:
•new sore throat
•new runny nose or nasal congestion
•new muscle aches
•new shortness of breath
•new loss of smell
If one is a patient within the Partners Healthcare system, please call the Primary Care doctor’s office with any questions, and to be scheduled for evaluation and testing.
*Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare is offering a drive-thru testing service at 1000 Broadway (near the Chelsea/Revere city line). It is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.
If you have a Beth Israel primary care physician, call 617-975-6262 to make an appointment.
EBNHC Offers Testing to Chelsea Residents
The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center now offers testing to Chelsea residents. Unlike testing at MGH and Beth Israel, this testing is for anyone – one does not need to have COVID-19 symptoms. Like MGH and Beth Israel, one does not need to be a patient, they do not need insurance, and immigration status does not matter.
Appointments are required – no walk-ins are allowed. To schedule an appointment, call 617-569-5800. Testing is done in East Boston.
Collaborative Masks for Sale
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chelsea Collaborative was supporting a group of jornaleros (day laborers) to launch a worker-owned tailoring cooperative in Chelsea for entrepreneurial immigrants in search of economic opportunity. They have now come together to support community crisis responders and help undocumented families in Chelsea weather the financial crisis. The jornaleros are sewing proper masks to protect Chelsea’s community response organizations from the spread of the virus. Masks are being sold for $10 each and the proceeds are going to support undocumented families who are not eligible for unemployment benefits. 300 masks have already been sewn and distributed with more on the way. Individuals can purchase masks as well. To purchase any masks, you may place an order via email, please provide your name, phone number, address and number of masks by contacting: sylvia[email protected] then via Cash App: $ChelseaCollaborative.
School Meal Distribution Changes
The City will no longer have meal services at Saint Rose starting this week.
Next week, the City will reduce site locations to the following:
•Early Learning Center
•Mary C. Burke Complex
•Williams School (Wright/Browne Middle Schools)
•Clark Ave School
Meals will be served this week during April vacation week.
If You Are Not Sick and Need Food
•Monday-Friday: Hot lunches and kids lunches at 11:30 a.m. at Salvation Army (258 Chestnut Street)
•Tuesdays and Thursdays: Grocery pick-up 10 a.m.-noon at the Salvation Army (258 Chestnut Street).
•Tuesdays and Thursdays: Grocery pick-up at 5 p.m. at the Chelsea Collaborative (318 Broadway).
•Thursdays and Fridays: Mass General Hospital Food For Families Pantry (151 Everett Ave.). Available two times per month to MGH patients by referral. Please call (617) 887-3575.
•Saturdays: Grocery pick-up 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church (201 Washington Avenue, Chelsea); no appointment necessary.
•If You Are in Isolation and Need Food
Do not wait in line for food. Call 311 (617-466-4100).
•If You Are 65 Years or Older
Contact the Chelsea Senior Center for grocery deliveries. Call 617-466-4377 or 617-466-4370.
Pandemic-EBT, or P-EBT, has recently been approved for Massachusetts and things are underway to implement the program in the state. For households with students who would have received free and reduced price schools meals, P-EBT provides extra money to buy food. Eligible households will receive $5.70 per student for each day of school closure, which will be paid in a lump sum of $199.50 to cover the 35 days that schools have already been closed. If you already have an EBT card, then the funds will be added to your card.
P-EBT benefits can be spent in the same way as SNAP, and they’re available to households regardless of immigration status. However, they do not make you eligible for SNAP and they cannot be used to receive HIP benefits. They also do not replace the existing School Food Program, which continues to serve grab-and-go meals on weekdays for students.
Grants for Downtown Businesses
If anyone owns a small business in Downtown Chelsea that is struggling during this time, they may be able to apply for financial assistance from the Chelsea Business Foundation. Grants are from $1,000 to $5,000 and can be used to cover rent, keep employees, and other critical needs. To apply, your business must:
•Be in Chelsea’s TDI District
•Have less than 50 employees
•Need financial help due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Applications are due by 6 p.m. Friday, April 24.
Tax Bills, Others Delayed to June 1
The due date for ALL city payments and applications has been extended to June 1, 2020. This policy applies to all bills with a due date on or after March 10, 2020. June 1, 2020 is the new due date even if you received a bill that said the due date for payment is earlier than that.
This extension applies to all of the below:
•Real property tax bills
•Personal property tax bills
•Applications for property tax exemptions
•Parking stickers applications and renewals
•Parking ticket appeals
•Excise tax bills
•Water and sewer bills
Blood Donations Needed
With the increase in people needing medical assistance during the pandemic there is a critical need for blood as well. If you are able, please contact the Red Cross to make an appointment or look for upcoming opportunities to donate at MGH-Chelsea.
Reminder: Parks Equipment Closed to the Public
All childrens’ playground areas, all basketball/tennis courts and all athletic fields are closed to the general public due to the COVID-19 crisis. Some large recreation areas remain open in the City, but public use is limited to passive recreation such as walking and jogging, and only provided that social and physical distancing rules (six feet away from others) are followed. No athletic activities that bring participants into close physical contact are allowed, even when involving 10 or fewer people.
Deadline for Exemption Extended
The deadline for statutory tax exemptions, with a previous due date of April 1, 2020, will now be extended to June 1, 2020.
However, the property tax abatement deadline, which was Feb. 3, 2020 is not affected by this change and was NOT altered.
If you have another bill and you are not sure if the deadline is extended, please call 617-466-4209 to confirm.
Note that all payments and applications are due by June 1, 2020. This deadline will not be extended even if City Hall is still closed on June 1. However, the City will extend a grace period for late payments. Payments made after June 1, 2020 but before June 30, 2020 will be accepted without penalty or interest.
We encourage you to pay all bills by mail or online. DO NOT access the City’s on-line payment platform via Google or other internet providers. Please go directly to HYPERLINK “http://www.chelseama.gov” \t “_blank” www.chelseama.gov and click on the link for Online Services.
We anticipate that City Hall will reopen significantly before the deadline in order to accept cash payments.
Water Leak Alerts
The City of Chelsea is offering a free service to residents to help efficiently manage water usage and lower monthly bills. The service also notifies residents if usage indicates a possible leak. Register for this service at HYPERLINK “http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=0017Ss9ORreJv1q3qqRbGNroGV8RigTx_RspS54DXNHIIShBfDvg4V68VYR6LUj-BOBlr9RrNqB–J6YN2TkxINWzEzzwa5GsekcZGGoJa2_lEMsGLx_ElLNPPpdTqebMZJ-cZwVNLRYTdLy1YuGHHkCg==&c=7RXo2NPybL8YH3smAFlZAsULjxPq4AJNPfJL-0Ev93jRnw1XkgikzQ==&ch=yhzPkyvLmcp3jxcBRUwiGvvk5qO8-67SQ1_zBzHzC4HHsiAEYOiytA==” \t “_blank” http://chelma.aquahawk.us or call 617-464-4041 for more information.
Free Water Meter Replacement
The City of Chelsea’s DPW is continuing its water meter replacement program for both residential and commercial customers. As part of this effort, meter service technicians from the DPW may be visiting a property to remove the old meter and replace it with a new meter. All DPW meter service technicians travel in marked City of Chelsea vehicles and have City of Chelsea identification badges. Whenever a water meter technician visits a property, one should ask to see the City issued ID. Installation of a new meter will typically take less than 30 minutes. The new meters will eliminate most estimated bills. Reliable readings will also allow customers to identify leaks that may result in higher than normal bills. There is no charge for the new meter.
Chelsea Street Bridge App
For those seeking real time information about the Chelsea St. Bridge closures, Massport is operating a Twitter account which alerts drivers whenever the bridge is opening for shipping and closed to traffic. The Twitter account is @LoganToChelsea. This real time information supplements the new vehicular warnings systems now currently active on Broadway and Williams St.
MassPort Noise Complaint Line
Residents who are being disturbed by airplane noise are encouraged to call the MassPort Noise Hotline 24 hours a day. The phone number is (617) 561-3333.
Senior Water and Sewer Discount
Chelsea senior citizens are reminded to sign up for the new Senior Discount for water and sewer charges. Any senior 65 or older who owns and occupies his/her own home may apply. The discount is 10% off the monthly bill.