With rising rates of COVID-19 transmission and more people getting sick or exposed, the likelihood is high that more and more businesses, offices and schools will have to temporarily close because they won’t have the personnel to open.

Such is the case on Tuesday, Dec. 8, when Wilton High School will transition to remote learning because too many custodians are in quarantine and will be absent due to what Superintendent Kevin Smith called “new COVID-19 exposures.”

In an email sent to the school community, Smith said that one-third of the custodial staff is presently in quarantine–that’s one-third of the 35 total custodians across the district.

School officials opted to transition the high school to remote on Tuesday so that remaining WHS custodial staff could be redeployed to the district’s’ other three schools to cover for any absences there. That way, Wilton’s K-8 schools will be able to stay open for in-person instruction.

“No question, Staffing will take a hit. It will get worse over the next several weeks.”

––Wilton official

Smith explained the factors he considered in opting to close the high school rather than any of the other buildings:  “A critical mass of custodians currently out are assigned there; generally speaking, students at this level are developmentally better equipped to manage the shift; and there is likely much less of a need for childcare [for families of high school students].”

District officials hope that the transition to remote will only be for one day. Although the schools always operate remotely on Wednesdays, Smith believes the high school can resume in-person instruction on Thursday, Dec. 10 because a number of custodial staff are expected to return from quarantine on Wednesday, Dec. 9 and short-term, temporary help can be brought in to fill in any gaps.

However, Smith cautioned that the school community should be prepared to continue remotely if necessary.

Current Number of COVID Cases in Wilton Public Schools

The district posted on its website the current number of COVID-19 cases in Wilton Public Schools. There are 7 staff and 7 students who are isolating due to a confirmed positive diagnosis, and there are 33 staff and 86 students who are currently in quarantine due to close contact with someone with COVID.