Wilton’s weekend weather was glorious, but news from the school district was less so, as emails announcing new COVID-19 cases started and ended the two-day break from school. It was also a weekend that brought even sadder news, as Wilton’s coronavirus update included the first fatality linked to the virus in months.
Friday evening, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice reported that Wilton’s new case count rose by three new cases, with ages of those newly-diagnosed individuals ranging from 2- to 89-years-old. In addition, she wrote that Wilton saw its first COVID-related death, which would make it the first fatality from the virus in town since July.
Earlier Friday afternoon, at 4 p.m., superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith emailed the Wilton Public School community with news that a previously announced (on Nov. 4) presumptive positive case in Miller-Driscoll Elementary School had been confirmed.
Smith said that contact tracing has been conducted and any people impacted have been instructed either to quarantine and participate in remote-only learning, or to self-monitor for 14 days. He specified that due to the nature of this particular case, all Miller-Driscoll students and staff were advised to self-monitor for symptoms “in the event that they came in contact with a person who came in contact with the COVID-positive individual.”
A similar email from Smith landed in inboxes late on Sunday afternoon, at 5 p.m., notifying members of the community about two new cases at Cider Mill School. Again he asked that all members of that particular school’s community to self-monitor for symptoms in case any they had contact with a person who had contact with the COVID-positive individuals.
He noted that such notifications to self-monitor may seem redundant because everyone is supposed to self-monitor for symptoms during this pandemic. “We view COVID-positive notifications as opportunities to remind people of the importance of monitoring symptoms of illness very carefully, particularly when we are seeing positivity rates increase across the state,” he explained.
Smith also used the emails to remind the school community of protocols adopted by the district that spell out exactly what families need to do in all situations related to COVID–whether there is simply news of a positive case in the school or for anyone who is COVID-positive or in contact with a confirmed positive individual:
- The COVID-positive individual isolates within the home for a minimum of 10 days from the date of the COVID positive test. According to the CDC, the person may resume activity once these criteria have been met:
- “10 days since symptoms first appeared AND
- 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND
- Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving”
- Please see the CDC website for more information about the isolation period for COVID-positive individuals.
- All members of the household quarantine and monitor for symptoms of COVID for 14 days from the date of onset of the COVID-positive person’s symptoms OR, if asymptomatic, 14 days from 48 hours before the test was taken.
- The parent should contact the Wilton Health Department and the school nurse to provide notification that the COVID-positive individual is in the home.
Close Contact with a COVID-positive Individual
- A person who meets the definition of “close contact” with a COVID-positive individual who was with the COVID-positive individual when the person was sick or within the 48 hour period before the person EITHER took a test that was positive OR developed symptoms should quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact with that person.
- All members of the household should self-monitor for symptoms during that person’s quarantine period. Members of the household should otherwise continue their normal activities, including attending school. Please note that self-monitoring includes taking one’s temperature every morning and every evening.
- The parent should contact the Wilton Health Department and the school nurse to provide notification to the school that the person is quarantining at home.
Contact with a Person in Close Contact with a COVID-positive Individual
- If a person knows that he/she has come in contact with a person in close contact with a COVID-positive individual, the person should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days from that last contact with that person. This person may otherwise continue normal activities. Self-monitoring includes taking one’s temperature every morning and every evening.
- Note that everyone should be self-monitoring every day, but the health director advises people to pay particularly close attention after known exposures.
As you know, our school district follows recommendations published by the Centers for Disease Control. For more information about how to protect yourself from COVID-19, please visit the CDC website. In addition, the highlights of the CDC’s recommendations on prevention are listed here:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water are unavailable, use hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with others, particularly those who may be sick.
- Wear a face covering that covers your mouth and nose when you are around others or in public spaces.
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue, immediately throw the tissue away, and wash your hands with soapy water for 20 seconds or more.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that you touch often.
- Monitor your health daily for symptoms.
- If you believe you are sick or are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, do not come to school or work and seek the advice of a physician.