New Canaan Public Schools will be closed for the next 14 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The schools will be closed Thursday and they will start e-learning programs on Friday.
The news comes the same day state officials announced the third case of COVID-19 in the state, an New Canaan resident. That patient had no known contact with other coronavirus patients, and health officials believe it may be a case of community spread. The school closures are an effort to limit that spread.
"Closing schools is not something any Superintendent, Health Department, or town does lightly. Nonetheless, after careful thought and consideration, and with the strong support of our school district doctor and other medical experts, it is the right decision for our students, staff, and community," Superintendent Bryan Luizzi wrote in a letter to the community.
Town officials have also decided to close other public buildings, including the Lapham Community Center and the New Canaan Public Library. Town Hall will have limited hours, and people are asked to call 203-594-3000 before visiting.
Three people in Connecticut have tested positive for the coronavirus. The other two patients include a man from Wilton and a woman from Bethlehem, both of whom are believed to have contracted the virus while traveling.
Two New York residents who work in Connecticut have also tested positive for the virus.
Gov. Ned Lamont declared a public health emergency and a civil preparedness emergency over the coronavirus on Tuesday.
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.