5 Things You Need to Know Today in Worcester – Feb. 25, 2021

 by TWIW StaffFebruary 25, 2021

In today’s daily 5 Things You Need to Know feature, ThisWeekinWorcester.com explores five important items and stories that Worcester and Central Massachusetts residents should keep a close eye on.

These five things can cover a whole range of subjects and issues that we feel are pertinent to understanding what’s going on in the city and the cities and towns surrounding Worcester.

In today’s edition – Thursday, February 25 – the Baker-Polito administration announced $4.7 million for its vaccine equity initiative, the Worcester School Committee meets tonight, Anna Maria students compete in national vocal competition, McDonald's released their crispy chicken sandwich, and the Better Business Bureau has tips on traveling with emotional support animals.


Baker-Polito Administration Announces $4.7 Million for Vaccine Equity Initiative

The Baker-Polito Administration has announced a new $4.7 million initiative to promote COVID-19 vaccine equity in the 20 communities --including Worcester -- most disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The initiative will focus on the municipalities with the greatest COVID-19 case burden, taking into account social determinants of health and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color.

The state will work with Archipelago Strategies Group (ASG) and Health Care for All (HCFA) to provide hyperlocal, population-specific communication resources as well as hiring local residents and working with local organizations with cultural and linguistic competencies to reach disparately impacted populations in each priority municipality.


Worcester School Committee Meets Tonight

The Worcester School Committee will meet tonight at 5 PM in a virtual Zoom meeting.

Superintendent Maureen Binienda will present the district's plan to transition to hybrid learning and its plan to transition to hybrid modules.

School Committee members will again request a letter be drawn to the Department of Early and Secondary Education to postpone this year's MCAS exams.

To join the meeting, click here.

Passcode: 165693
Telephone: US: +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799
Webinar ID: 817 5617 3454


Anna Maria Students Compete in National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition 

Chloe Panico, a Sophomore Music Education major at Anna Maria College and resident of Beverly, placed second at the 2021 National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Boston Student Auditions, which took place virtually from February 5 to 14.

Panico placed second in the Musical Theater and Classical Music genres.

Over 270 students ranging in age from 10 to 30 from all over Massachusetts submitted videos to compete in categories that included Classical, Musical Theater and Contemporary/Jazz Genres. Panico competed against other freshman and sophomores as she made her way to the finals.

Chloe, along with her Anna Maria classmates El Bowen (Musical Theater), Catie Verostick (Musical Theater), Adrianna Celeste (Classical), and Raschelle Robert (Classical) are voice students of Anna Maria College Music Professor Julie Krugman. They will next submit videos to the New England Region of the NATS Student Auditions in March. The top-5 placements in the New England Region will then compete at the National NATS Auditions which involves students from all over the US and Canada.


McDonald's Releases their Crispy Chicken Sandwich

McDonald’s new Crispy Chicken Sandwich is now available.

The new menu item comes in response to the popularity of sandwiches from Popeye's and Chick-fil-a.

Customers can get it three ways – Crispy, Spicy and Deluxe:

  • Crispy Chicken Sandwich:  topped with crinkle cut pickles and served on a new toasted, buttered potato roll.
  • Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich: served with a Spicy Pepper Sauce and crinkle cut pickles on a toasted potato roll.
  • Deluxe Crispy Chicken Sandwich: served with shredded lettuce, Roma tomatoes and mayo.

The Crispy Chicken Sandwich is now available nationwide via carry-out, Drive Thru, the McDonald’s app or McDelivery.


Better Business Bureau Tips for Taking Emotional Support Animals on Trips

If you are planning on a much-needed getaway in the United States by air and taking your emotional support animal, double check the changes recently issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

The changes were deemed necessary for air traveler safety, after numerous concerns were cited by several individuals regarding service animals in limited aircraft space.

Here are some specifics on the new rules for service animals when flying:

  • The definition of a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.
  • No longer considers an emotional support animal to be a service animal. They can be considered as pets. Note: psychiatric service animals are treated the same as other service animals.
  • Allows airlines to require forms developed by DOT attesting to a service animal’s health, behavior, and training. If taking a long flight, the owner must attest that the service animal either would not need to relieve itself or can relieve itself in a sanitary manner.

Additional descriptions of what constitutes a service animal is specified in this document released by the DOT.

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