Thursday, February 22, 2024

Sponsors

Health and Fitness

Superintendent Scarice: More COVID-19 Cases Reported in Schools

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice today issued the following update to school families:

Dear Westport Families and Staff,

As of the time I am writing to you this evening we have 6 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the following schools:

  • Greens Farms Elementary School - 2
  • Staples High School - 4

Today’s reports of positive COVID-19 cases have led to additional quarantines of staff and students at Staples High School. Those impacted have been notified by school and District officials.

As a reminder, families can report positive of COVID-19 cases of students using our report phone line voicemail or email. Please follow this link for more information.

Winter Farmers Market Kicks Off at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens

The Westport (CT) Winter Farmers Market opened today at Gilbertie's Herb Gardens, Nov. 12, 2020, photo by Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The Winter Farmers Market (WFM) opened today at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens at 7 Sylvan Lane. According to WFM Executive Director Lori Cochran-Dougall, “there are a few differences from prior years … we’re now open on Thursdays instead of Saturdays and, observing Covid-19 safety precautions, it’s an open-air market held throughout three greenhouses ensuring a constant stream of airflow.” She added, “Over 35 vendors provide high-quality locally grown or raised fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, milk, baked and prepared foods, as well as some handmade items.” The WFM will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays (except holidays) until March 11, 2021. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Marpe: Large Gatherings, Parties, & Sports Activities Spark Uptick in COVID-19 Cases

First Selectman Jim Marpe issued the following statement today:

Last night, Westport Public Schools (WPS) Superintendent Tom Scarice announced that Bedford and Coleytown Middle Schools and Staples High School will be operating on a full remote teaching model for all students and staff today and tomorrow. The potential reopening of these schools will be considered for Monday, November 16. This decision is based on the volume of new COVID cases that limit the schools’ ability to open for in-school learning.

Mr. Scarice assures Town officials that while COVID cases have been discovered in the school population, administrators’ swift response to new cases has resulted in little to no widespread COVID contamination. However, new cases require immediate attention, which include quarantining and contact tracing. While the lack of spread demonstrates that the processes in place are working, the schools are continually being challenged by new cases apparently brought on by outside activities.

Mr. Scarice noted that investigations and contact tracing reveal that the new cases are the result of a number of recent large gatherings, parties, and sports activities that involve students or their parents. We continue to see disturbing proof of these activities. Unfortunately, they include images of young people in close contact with one another and without face coverings. I have committed to the Superintendent that Town officials and I will work closely with the schools to promote guidance and regulations that will curb these activities. To that end, I have requested Westport Parks and Recreation Director Jen Fava to research reinstating earlier COVID-related policies at Westport parks, fields, and recreation facilities.

Turkeys Join the COVID-19 Testing Line

Turkeys join the COVID testing line in Westport, CT, Nov. 12, 2020, by Jaime Bairaktaris
A gang of wild turkeys kept the attention of people in the nearly 200 cars in line at the Long Lots Road COVID-19 testing site this morning. By 7:30 a.m., the wait time for a test was estimated to be two hours or longer, per Westport police officers. A Hartford Healthcare worker said it “hasn’t been this busy since April, if not busier. We are not to order anymore tests for the Westport location this week.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com

Bedford/Coleytown Middle School, Staples to Full Remote Nov. 12 & 13

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice today issued the following update to school families:

Dear Westport Families and Staff,

For November 12th and 13th, Bedford/Coleytown Middle School and Staples High School will be operating through a full remote teaching model for all students and staff. The principals will be sending further information this evening about the schedules for both days.

The decision to move our secondary schools to a remote model for two days came as a result of several individuals testing positive and the subsequent need to quarantine many individuals and continue contact tracing. Due to the number of quartainted staff members, we are unable to appropriately staff our secondary buildings and supervise our students.

As of the time I am writing to you this evening we have 12 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the following schools, including 5 new cases in the past few hours:

  • Coleytown Elementary School - 2
  • Greens Farms Elementary School - 2
  • Kings Highway Elementary School - 1
  • Bedford/Coleytown Middle School - 2
  • Staples High School - 5

Health & Safety Update for Staples High School from Superintendent Scarice

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice today issued the following update to school families:

Dear Westport Families and Staff,

This evening we were made aware of two individuals at Staples High School who tested positive for COVID-19. The affected persons will be excluded from the school environment and have been instructed to quarantine at home. 

Upon learning of the positive COVID-19 case, the Westport Public Schools conducted initial contact tracing. Those determined to be “close contacts” are defined as individuals who were within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes over a 24 hour period, starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling ill or 48 hours prior to a positive test of an asymptomatic individual. It has been determined that there were staff members and multiple classes within Staples High School needing to quarantine. Others who have been identified as close contacts outside of school have been notified, and contact tracing will continue through the Westport/Weston Health District.

The school district administration is required to comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding student and employee confidentiality and privacy.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) precludes sharing the identity of an individual, with the exception of sharing the individual’s identity with a public health agency (e.g., Westport/Weston Health District).  In addition, the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prevents the school district from publicly sharing personally identifiable information derived from student education records.

Compo Beach Will Close When Parking Reaches 50% Capacity

Westport Operations Director Sara Harris announced that due to the nice weather and warmer than normal temperatures this weekend, car and pedestrian traffic has been increasing at the Westport beaches. “In an abundance of caution and to ensure public health and safety, the parking lots will close tomorrow when they reach 50% capacity, as was done during the summer. We will reopen as spaces become available,” she announced.

While in the Compo Beach area, wear masks when walking on the beach boardwalk, using the restrooms or area sidewalks, or at any other time when you are unable to maintain a six-foot distance from others.