Some students and staffers at a school in Fairfield County where a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 will have to quarantine for two weeks, Thomas Scarice, Westport's Superintendent of Schools announced Friday afternoon, Sept. 11.
Coleytown Elementary School in Westport was closed Friday to students and staff after the positive case was confirmed early in the morning.
"In working closely with the Westport/Weston Health District and our medical advisor, it has been confirmed that the staff and students have implemented our mitigating measures by maintaining distance to the maximum extent possible, and by wearing masks," Scarice said in an email to the community. "However, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE)/Department of Public Health (DPH) guidance (Addendum 9) indicates that decisions for exclusion from school and quarantine will be based on the individual circumstances of each case, including those who have spent a significant amount of time (i.e. more than 15 minutes) in the presence of a positive case, regardless of mask-wearing.
"In this case, it was determined that the students and staff in two CES classrooms spent a significant amount of time in the presence of a positive case.
"As a result, these individuals will be excluded from school community and have been recommended to quarantine for 14 days from the date of contact, Thursday, Sept. 10. To be clear, siblings and other family members of these children and staff do not need to quarantine."
There were some unintended consequences as a result of the closure, Scarice said.
"For example, the distance-learning teachers located at CES were not able to access their materials this morning, and as a result, those classes needed to be canceled," he noted.
"The distance-learning specials were impacted similarly, yet this was not communicated to parents and I apologize for any inconvenience.
" We have reviewed this process so that we can maintain continuity to the maximum extent possible the next time we experience a closure or interruption of education.
"I intentionally state, 'the next time' since I want to reiterate that we are educating our students in the midst of a global pandemic. I expect that we will continue to confront circumstances like this throughout the duration of the pandemic.
" We will get better in our response each time. We will learn lessons from each event and we will continue to educate and develop our children to the very best of our ability."
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