Schools Superintendent Updates The Community

Superintendent of Schools Tom Scarice is conducting a master class in communication. Today he provided these updates to the community:

COVID Update
On October 13 I shared with the community that the public health experts we consulted projected a significant spike in rates of infection in the subsequent 4-6 weeks. The following chart of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people illustrates the fulfillment of those projections. 

As the rates of positive COVID cases increase in the community, cases enter our schools.

However, since we returned in September, we have been able to mitigate the spread of the virus, maintaining safety in our schools.

That said, I cannot say the same for other settings in the community. In full candor, the ability to maintain in-person schooling is largely dependent on the vigilance of the community to apply the same mitigating measures your child experiences each day in school.

Our cases are widely related to lapses in the community. Local public health experts are not reporting widespread outbreaks in schools, but they are uncovering outbreaks in informal settings (e.g. youth sports, informal gatherings/parties, car pools, etc.).

This is not intended to cast aspersion on such activities, but only to implore those in the community to support our efforts in anticipation of a long winter confronting this pandemic. We will continue to work as vigilantly as we can to enforce our measures as well.

Staples High School On Full Remote Through Thanksgiving, Bedford and Coleytown Middle Schools Return to Hybrid Monday November 16
Due to a staffing shortage as a result of significant quarantines, Staples, Bedford and Coleytown Middle were all placed on remote learning for November 12 and 13.

Staples will remain on remote through Thanksgiving, and the middle schools will return to the hybrid model on Monday November 16. Click here for full details.

How Do Mitigating Measures Work?
At the expense of oversimplifying the use of mitigating measures, perhaps this graphic captures it best from the Cleveland Clinic.


Can My Child Get a Negative COVID Test to Return to School From Quarantine?
No. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. During this time, even after a negative test, you may develop symptoms and become infectious within this 2-14 days time frame after exposure. This is based on consistent guidance from the CDC and the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

Can My Child Return to School After a Positive COVID Test if They Subsequently Get a Negative PCR Test?
No. A student can return to school 10 days after the onset of symptoms or 10 days after the date of the positive test. A subsequent test does not negate a previous positive test.

Does My Child Need a Negative COVID Test to Return After a Quarantine Period?
No. If your child does not develop symptoms they may return to school after the 14 day quarantine period. If your child does develop symptoms, it is best to have your child see their pediatrician.

Next Steps
We will continue to monitor our ability to mitigate virus transmission in the schools and maintain our staffing levels so that we can receive students on-site safely. However, it is possible that an intermittent or extended remote learning period may be implemented if necessary for our schools.

3 responses to “Schools Superintendent Updates The Community

  1. So disappointing to read this…adults actions, choosing to continue to go to parties, large gatherings and sporting events, shameful…..make better choices westport adults, parents !!!

  2. Robert Harrington

    It was great to open the schools while transmission rates were super low. We got a good 2.5 months back at school. I was happy to go to NYC for work from June as the risk was very low. Sadly now things are changing again. Won’t be forever. The school administration has done a solid job. But we are sleep walking towards fully closing the schools and will likely make the decision too late.

    We shut the schools down too late in March and we are likely doing the same again. Time to be proactive and close the schools now. It will NOT be forever.

  3. I applaud Superintendent Tom Scarice for his leadership, as well as his excellent communication skills as we head into this difficult resurgence of COVID in our community. The graphic included in his post (above) is brilliant…and perhaps more effective than many charts and tables of rising numbers.

    I would hope that the rest of our town officials would be a bit more proactive in their communications about pulling together as a town to meet this challenge. I doubt that any of us want to return to the state we were in this past March when the parks and beaches were shut down. While I don’t think that we expect the intensity of Governor Cuomo’s press conferences, perhaps some more local and ongoing engagement from town hall would be effective.

    In spite of the fact that many well-known media and technology personalities call Westport home, we live in a media void, without a real newspaper or broadcast presence. News is communicated through private blogs, such as this (thank you Dan!), WestportNow, and several Facebook groups. Post-Isaias, minimal communication was dispensed through Fire Marshall Nate Gibbons and WWPT. Maybe the time has come, in the face of recent natural and biological disasters, to address how Westport communicates, and what it communicates, to the town’s residents.