Region 14 schools were closed Wednesday and will be for the remainder of the week. This, after school authorities learned that a district student came in contact with their grandmother who is a confirmed COVID-19 patient.
State officials said the woman, who is in her 60s, is from Bethlehem and works at a Bridgeport Hospital. The student has been self-quarantined for 14 days.
Reacting to the situation, school Superintendent, Dr. Joseph Olzacki said the decision to close schools in Woodbury and Bethlehem was a precaution.
“It’s not about panic. It’s about how we address it reasonably, comfortably and accurately,” he said.
Olzacki said he received a call from one of the district’s school nurses, Tuesday morning. After a group meeting with authorities from Bethlehem and Woodbury, the Department of Education and the Department of Public Health, the decision was made to close the schools.
“We all came to a uniform decision of how we should proceed and what would be best to safeguard these students, parents and the time whole district,” Olzacki explained.
Wednesday, a team of five custodians addressed one of the district’s four schools. Floors, chairs, lockers and whiteboards all being wiped down and disinfected. It’s a process one custodian compared to what they need to do each summer.
“We’re going from top to bottom,” said custodian Fran McCarthy explaining they’re using specific products to ensure cleanliness. “We’ve been disinfecting and sanitizing with a high-quality disinfectant sanitizer. It’s all in one."
With the intent of reopening Monday, Woodbury and Bethlehem Schools will be scrubbed and disinfected. Meanwhile, families with students in the district are processing the situation.
“I was terrified because it hit really close to home,” said Cheryl Kohler of Woodbury.
Kohler is a parent of a Woodbury student. Her daughter has autism and with that Kohler was concerned.
“If she comes near anybody who has that, she’s doomed because she puts her hands up to her face and it’s not very sanitary all the time,” explained Kohler.
But Kohler said she has no apprehension about sending her daughter back to school. She trusts the superintendent who said schools will be ready to reopen Monday.
“The one thing that we have to do here is we have to remember, this is about kids. It’s always about kids it’s about our students,” added Olzacki.
The days being missed will be made up at the end of the school year.