COVID-19 Update, April 29, 2021: Updated Remote Learning & Mask Guidance; Wilton’s Case Rate Declines–But Keep an Eye on Schools

On Tuesday, April 27, the CDC issued new guidance on outdoor mask wearing for fully vaccinated residents. Fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or your one dose of J&J. As of Wednesday morning the Governor had not changed his executive order on mask-wearing, though he did indicate the State would follow this CDC guidance: “You can gather or conduct activities outdoors without wearing a mask except in certain crowded settings and venues.”   

  • If you are fully vaccinated you can start doing many things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
  • When choosing safer activities, consider how COVID-19 is spreading in your community, the number of people participating in the activity, and the location of the activity.
  • Outdoor visits and activities are safer than indoor activities, and fully vaccinated people can participate in some indoor events safely, without much risk.

The CDC said that fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks in indoor public spaces because the vaccination status of other people or whether they are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 is likely unknown.

What Fully Vaccinated People Can Do (per the CDC)

  • Gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart.
  • Gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks or staying 6 feet apart, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Gather or conduct activities outdoors without wearing a mask except in certain crowded settings and venues.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • Pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
    • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
    • You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
    • You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
    • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

What Fully Vaccinated People Should Continue to Do (per the CDC)

For now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • Continue to wear a snug-fitting mask to protect yourself and others whenever you are:
    • In indoor public settings
    • Gathering indoors with unvaccinated people (including children) from more than one other household
    • Visiting indoors with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 or who lives with a person at increased risk
  • Avoid indoor large gatherings.
  • If you travel, take steps to protect yourself and others. You will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested within three days of their flight (or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months) and should still get tested 3-5 days after their trip.
  • Watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • Follow guidance in the workplace.
  • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system should talk to their healthcare provider to discuss their activities. They may need to keep taking all precautions to prevent COVID-19.

Wilton’s Case Rate Declining…

On Wednesday, the CT Department of Public Health reported one new case in Wilton. There have been a total of 30 new cases reported in the last two weeks. In the prior two-week period, there were 56 new cases; in the two-week period before that, there were 87 new cases.

Date Total To-Date New Cases 
April 15, 2021 1168 7
April 18, 2021 1178 10
April 19, 2021 1179 1
April 20, 2021 1179 0
April 21, 2021 1183 4
April 22, 2021 1183 0
April 25, 2021 1197 14
April 26, 2021 1197 0
April 27, 2021 1198 1

 

In her update to residents Wednesday, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice provided the most recent case breakdown by age as reported by the Wilton Health Department.

Ages Wilton Population Apr 20-26 Apr 13-19 Nov 10-April 12
0-4 5% 10% 0% 3%
5-14 18% 19% 22% 12%
15-24 13% 10% 25% 22%
25-44 16% 38% 44% 19%
45-65 32% 14% 9% 32%
65+ 16% 10% 0% 11%

 

… but Keep an Eye on the Schools

Wilton Public School cases also continue to decline, but the district has maintained its policy regarding quarantining staff and students who come in close contact with anyone who has tested positive or is suspected of being COVID-19 positive. There are currently 151 students quarantining due to close contact.

Wilton Public Schools COVID-19 Daily Case Tracker, April 28, 2021

CT State Dept. of Education Guidance:  Remote Learning NOT Mandated for 2021-22 School Year

On Tuesday, the Connecticut State Department of Education issued guidance regarding remote learning for the 2021-22 school year. Although conditions may change, requiring an update to the guidance, the CSDE statement read, “At this time, DPH and CSDE do not anticipate the need to mandate, due to public health necessity, that all school districts provide an option for students and their families to opt-in to a voluntary remote option after this school year.”

The statement also noted that the guidance is subject to change “pending the outcomes of the 2021 legislative session, to the extent that such changes influence virtual and remote education.”

Department officials also reiterated its stance on the “importance of in-person education.”

“The Office of the Governor, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), and the Connecticut State Department of Public Health (DPH), and national experts, have reinforced throughout the pandemic that access to in- person learning opportunities is a priority, particularly due to the significance of the social-emotional environment provided through student and adult interactions during the school day.”

However, the statement said that rather than move “back” to what education was like pre-pandemic, the CDSE will consider the use of remote learning as a strategy.

“Connecticut will continue to be a leader in innovation when it comes to how our students learn and access school. While the interests of educational opportunity, social-emotional learning, access, and equity support the return to in-person learning, this guidance identifies the intent of the CSDE to provide additional support for school districts to employ remote and virtual learning judiciously going forward, as a dynamic educational option where it is supported by CSDE standards, current law, or anticipated legislative action.”

State education officials are exploring the possible use of remote learning for certain situations, including “advanced placement options, higher-level or specialized classes, or technical education that may not be offered in a home district; virtual software or platforms in classrooms to expand teaching approaches and best utilize technology for in-person learning; learning acceleration; strengthening equity across the state by enhancing enrichment options and leveraging deliberate virtual access for students in concert with in-person learning; the potential need for a classroom quarantine; and emergency building-related issues for limited, short periods.

The CDSE noted that although CT schools showed “immense progress” and “great resilience” in implementing remote learning in an emergency public health response, it emphasized that in-person access to school is the widely-accepted, “best long-term approach for most students to be educated, have equitable and effective access to educational opportunities, find necessary supports from adults and proper nutrition, as well as to engage in age-appropriate and necessary social and emotional growth.”

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