January 2, 2022

Dear Families

This is a follow up to my email of December 28th when I shared with you that the district would adhere to the new CDC guidelines that were issued on December 27th.  The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) supports school districts making these changes regarding quarantine, isolation, and testing also.

During the break the district administration has continued to monitor this situation.  Currently there are twenty staff members who tested positive for COVID-19 over the vacation. A clear majority of this group will return to work on Monday with other staff returning by Wednesday. We will re-open on Monday, January 3, 2022.  Here is a link to our COVID dashboard, which was updated this weekend: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1x9nswxZtZmRbMZwZXFnZeHNG1NR7v3Adgogl5pOtSF8/edit#gid=0

The district will continue to employ mitigating strategies at our schools to protect our students and staff. The schools are clean. We will continue to enforce universal mask wearing by staff and students.  We will take steps to ensure that periods of unmasking inside the school are as brief and socially distanced as possible. We will continue to prohibit visitors to our schools unless approved by the administration under specific circumstances.

It is very important that we take care of one another by adhering to these rules. Here is a review of the new COVID guidelines.

  • All Students and staff who are even mildly symptomatic with any of the symptoms associated with COVID 19 should immediately isolate at home, test for the virus with a PCR, antigen, or self-test.
  • If the test is negative they should not return to school until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours and other symptoms are significantly improved.
  • Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate at home for at least 5 days, or longer if symptoms develop and persist.
  • Vaccinated students and staff who are notified that they have had a close contact with an individual who has confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should continue to come to school and test for COVID-19 5 days after the exposure. If they develop symptoms, they should test and stay home.
  • Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students and staff who are notified that they have had a close contact with an individual who has confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should immediately quarantine at home and test for the virus 5 days after their last exposure to the COVID-19 case. This is especially important in situations where extended high-intensity exposure may have occurred, such as with household contacts, in unmasked social settings including sleepovers, parties, and other activities.
  • The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) is still requiring a 10-day quarantine for unvaccinated athletes who are a close contact with a negative test on or after day 8 or a full 14-day quarantine with no test.  Therefore, it is possible for your child to return to school after 5 days but not return to athletics for at least 5 more days.  If your child is a high school athlete and you have any questions about this please reach out to our Athletic Director Mr. Berkowitz in the athletic office.
  • At this time, the Connecticut DPH has also determined that routine contact tracing within our schools can be discontinued as it has been deemed ineffective in our current situation of high transmission. Our district will refocus efforts on the identification, early isolation and management of students and staff.

Please know that we will notify staff and parents/guardians of students regarding positive cases as timely and appropriately as possible.  At our elementary schools, if there is a positive case in the classroom, the entire class will be notified. At our middle school, there will be grade level notification.  At our high school there will be school level notification as the majority of our classes are mixed grade level. Our district operations department will notify families if there is a positive case on their particular bus.  The district COVID dashboard will be updated daily.

It will be challenging over the next few weeks, and we need everyone’s continued efforts and vigilance.   I understand that this can be confusing, and, at times, overwhelming.  Our school nurses are available to help and support you if you are unclear as to what you should do in a particular situation.  If your child is symptomatic or was exposed to COVID or has tested positive for COVID-19 please contact both the attendance line and the school nurse. Students who are quarantined because they are symptomatic, had a positive test result or were exposed to a close contact should access their learning remotely.  Our staff needs 24 hours to prepare, so we ask you to please be patient as this access will take a day to put in place.

Finally, we are awaiting the testing kits and KN95 masks promised to us by the state of Connecticut.  Pool testing for students grades K-6 will resume on January 3, 2022.  There will be a third vaccine clinic on January 11, 2022 from 4 PM to 7 PM at Weston Intermediate School. The second vaccine date is scheduled for February 1, 2022.  Pre-registration is required for this vaccine clinic as space is limited; details and a registration link will be emailed to families on Monday.  In addition, Students in grades 7 and 8 will be eligible for pool testing beginning the week of January 10, 2022.  In closing, please keep your child home if he or she is not feeling well.

Thank you for your continued help and support.

Lisa Wolak

Superintendent of Schools