Schools: Can’t Specify ‘Which Wilton School’ with Possible Exposure

Wednesday night, Wilton Public School officials sent additional communication home following their afternoon announcement of suspending classes and closing all district buildings “until further notice.”

The evening email provided a bit more clarification about the closure and how the district plans to proceed. It also addressed a question many school families were asking:  Which schools or activities were most impacted by the students whose family members were exposed to COVID-19?”

The school district can’t yet specify which school or schools were specifically impacted.

“At this time, we do not have information that we are able to share, as the Wilton Health Department is currently conducting its investigation of the matter and following its protocols to confirm whatever can be confirmed at this time, and what potential risks there are to the school community and the community at large. Rest assured that when we have additional information to disseminate about this situation, we will do so,” the letter read.

However, it did caution that school officials have been advised to instruct families to keep children home. They also say to take children’s temperatures twice a day (morning and evening) and to contact a doctor if a child has fever, is coughing or experiencing difficulty breathing.

The complete text of the district’s letter is below:

Dear Parents, Guardians, Caregivers and Colleagues,

Thank you for your ongoing flexibility as we all find our way through this challenging situation. We are sending you this message to update you on the district’s continued response to COVID-19 and other related developments that impact our school community. We will follow a question- and-answer format that will also be added to our district COVID-19 page under Frequently Asked Questions.

What is the status of school closures in the district, and what additional information can be provided about the situation?

Earlier this afternoon, we learned that parents of one or more Wilton Public Schools students were in direct contact with an individual who is believed to be presumptive positive for COVID-19. Under the direction of Health Director Barrington Bogle, and out of an abundance of caution, schools have been closed until further notice. This closure may be for a few days or longer as we work in coordination with local and state agencies to assess the situation and plan for next steps.

We understand that this information will likely cause concern among members of our school community. The first question for many is, “What additional information can you give us about the school/s these students attend or the activities in which they and their family members have participated?” At this time, we do not have information that we are able to share, as the Wilton Health Department is currently conducting its investigation of the matter and following its protocols to confirm whatever can be confirmed at this time, and what potential risks there are to the school community and the community at large. Rest assured that when we have additional information to disseminate about this situation, we will do so. In the meantime, out of an abundance of caution, we will be closed to perform deep cleaning in our school facilities. This cleaning will include a thorough disinfection of all classrooms, bathrooms, group spaces, common spaces, and hard surfaces.

As an additional precautionary measure, we have been advised to instruct families to:

      • Keep your children home
      • Take your child’s temperature twice daily (once in the morning and once in the evening)
      • Contact your physician if your child has a fever, is coughing, or experiences difficulty breathing.

My employer requires that I report any potential exposure I’ve had to the virus. Can you give me additional information about whether my child or I might have had exposure?

At this time, we are not able to confirm any potential exposure, as the Wilton Health Department is currently investigating the matter. We recommend that if your employer has requested this information, you should share that schools have closed while the local health department investigates.

For more information about what to do if you are concerned about potential exposure to the virus, please visit the CDC website.

When will we learn about the district’s distance learning plan?

We have decided not to begin distance learning this Thursday or Friday. Teachers were engaged in professional learning today when the decision was made to close schools. While we believe we are ready to initiate our plan, we are spending the next few days checking in with building administrators to ensure staff and students have what they need to make the effort go smoothly. We are also giving careful consideration to the best time to begin implementation. If we are closed for an extended period, we will notify you when distance learning will begin. Once we’ve made the decision to begin implementation, we will send information to parents and students detailing the process for how to access the activities.

What is the status of activities in the building next week?

We will make a decision about activities for next week by this Friday and communicate it to you at that time.

What is the status of the SAT exam originally scheduled for this weekend, and why have families of test-takers received information from the College Board about this weekend as though the test is proceeding?

As noted in earlier messages, we have cancelled our administration of the test. We alerted the College Board about this cancellation and were told that the College Board would be reaching out to families via email or U.S. mail with any steps families might take to pursue taking the SAT at an alternate location. It is likely that any emails families received about printing out their entry ticket for this weekend were automatically generated in error. In addition, it is likely that the College Board has not fully updated its information in response to the unprecedented number of closures nationwide. At this time, we ask that you direct all questions related to the SAT to the College Board.

Students taking Advanced Placement courses at WHS are concerned that a disrupted school schedule will impact their preparations for the test/s – which are schedule for spring. What can we do to address this concern?

While all of our students and courses are important, we are very cognizant that Advanced Placement (AP) students may feel additional pressure because the dates for the exams are already set. Please know that our AP teachers are also very aware of this dynamic and we are engaged in ongoing discussions about how they can reasonably move students forward with the required learning outcomes and exam preparation under the current circumstances. AP teachers met this afternoon to plan learning activities that will be meaningful for their students in the event of an extended school closing. Should we face such a closing, we will provide more information on how these activities will be shared electronically. Know that we are all committed to preparing the students well for these important exams.

We look forward to sharing our next update with you tomorrow evening. As always, should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Assistant Superintendent Charles Smith (curriculum and instruction), Assistant Superintendent (special services) Andrea Leonardi, Director of Human Resources and General Administration (emergency operations) Maria Coleman, or your building principal.

Best regards,

Kevin J. Smith, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Charles Smith
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

Maria Coleman
Director of Human Resources and General Administration