Waterbury School Employees Test Positive For Coronavirus

Wilby High School and Gilmartin Elementary School employees did not show symptoms until after schools closed March 12.

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Waterbury school officials have confirmed two employees at separate schools have tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a letter sent to student’s families by Waterbury Superintendent of Schools Dr. Verna D. Ruffin, a member of the instructional staff at Gilmartin Elementary and a member of the food service staff at Wilby High School have been infected.

It's startling news for those in the community.

“It’s just scary,” said Kathleen Vanlew, who has grandchildren in the Waterbury School system. “I worry about my kids more than I worry about myself.”

The superintendent says both school employees began showing symptoms after schools were closed March 12. 

According to the city’s Director of Emergency Management Adam Rinko, the Gilmartin School employee is not a Waterbury resident and has not had any contact with the school since it closed.

However, the Wilby High School employee, who works with food, has been involved in the grab-n-go food program since the closure. The superintendent’s letter says that individual stopped working after feeling ill. The Department of Emergency Management said the last day that person worked was March 23.

Today grab-n-go lunches continued to be distributed around Waterbury as they play a large role in this community. The city says it has served nearly 75,000 grab-n-go meals since the school closure.

The superintendent’s letter aimed to reassure people the meals continue to be safe and read in part:

“I want to assure you that all of our Food Service members practice the highest level of safe and hygienic food preparation and delivery practices. They are also abiding by social distancing guidelines. Any member of the Food Service staff who is feeling sick has been asked to stay home," the letter reads.

The schools themselves are being cleaned by custodial staff and professional services. The Department of Emergency Management says they are being steam cleaned to ensure disinfection.

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