Supt. Alan Addley sent a message to families on Wednesday, saying that Darien public schools are closing for 14 calendar days, from Thursday, March 12, and the scheduled date of return to school is Thursday, March 26.
In addition to the school closure, all academic, athletic, and extracurricular activities are canceled and the district and school facilities may not be used for any event during the closure.
The superintendent said all schools and facilities will be thoroughly deep cleaned while they are closed.
This superintendent said the decision to close schools was made amid consultation with the First Selectman and town and school health officials.
“Today, the State Department of Health shared that the spread of the Coronavirus is not only imminent but is actively occurring across local communities. While no Darien resident has been diagnosed with the Coronavirus, in an abundance of caution, the District is being proactive in its response to close schools in order to prevent the potential spread of the virus,” the statement says.
The last day of school, with one snow day and 10 closing days over concerns of coronavirus, would be June 30 and the superintendent said they might be required to use some or all of April break to make up days.
After speaking with the state commissioner of education, the district will be deciding whether or not it meets the criteria to submit a waiver to have eLearning days count toward the 180 days of school.
School officials said students will be able to access educational materials while schools are closed through the website or Google Classroom beginning on Monday, March 13, and the activities are voluntary. Students are not required to participate.
Schools will be open for students and staff from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday and students in grades 3 and 4 who do not have a device at home, may sign-out a chromebook at the main office for use while schools are closed.
Other students can stop in briefly to pick up any items that they may have left behind.
“We understand that school closure affects all families, and we are committed to addressing the needs of all our learners. Our administrators will reach out to individual families in the days ahead to explain the process we will use to provide services to their children once school reopens,” the letter from the superintendent says.
Cases of Coronavirus in Connecticut
A Wilton man in his 40s or 50s, who is being treated at Danbury Hospital, tested positive for coronavirus, a woman in her 60s from Bethlehem who is being treated at Bridgeport Hospital for the illness and the third patient is an elderly man from New Canaan.
Officials believe this is a case of community spread, as the person has had no known contact with another COVID-19 patient.
The key symptoms of the coronavirus, according to the CDC are:
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms can appear in infected persons two to 14 days after exposure.
Coronavirus Prevention Steps
Steps for prevention from the CDC include:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
- Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, such as to the grocery store
- Coverings should not be placed on children under 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- The face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for a health care worker
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Steps to Self-Monitor for Coronavirus
Steps to self-monitor from the CDC include:
- Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
- Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
- Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
- Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
If you do get sick with a fever, cough or have trouble breathing, call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room and communicate with your doctor about your recent travel.
- If you develop symptoms, stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.
The CDC has a special website set up with details about the coronavirus, including how it spreads and treatment.
Anyone with questions relating to coronavirus can call 2-1-1 or text "CTCOVID" to 898211. The 2-1-1 hotline is available 24 hours a day.
You can also visit the state's coronavirus information website here. Residents are encouraged to check the website for answers to questions before calling the hotline.