Wednesday evening Wilton Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Kevin Smith, emailed Wilton Schools’ families, caregivers, and staff members with news that one person in the Wilton High School community had tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the school will move to remote learning for all students and staff at least through the end of Thursday, Oct. 8.
Smith did not specify whether the individual who tested positive is a student or staff member.
In his message, Smith said that WHS is the only school in the district that will move to remote learning; Middlebrook, Cider Mill, and Miller-Driscoll Schools will operate as regularly scheduled.
Smith said that the move is “in accordance with [the district’s] containment plan,” and that “following CDC and State Departments of Education and Health guidance, we are collaborating with the Wilton Department of Health and engaging in contact tracing.”
The Wilton Health Department is contacting anyone who had “close contact” with the COVID-19-positive individual, and they are being directed to quarantine for 14 days. According to Smith’s email, “Close contact” is defined by the CDC as “spending at least 15 minutes within six feet of a person with confirmed COVID-19, or a direct exposure to possibly infected droplets of saliva or nasal mucus (e.g., having one’s face sneezed on or coughed on.”
Wilton High School administrators will be contacting anyone else who may have been in classrooms or other spaces with the individual but were not in close contact (as defined by the CDC), and notifying them to actively self-monitor for symptoms.
Only those individuals who were in “close contact” are required to quarantine, Smith wrote.
Smith also asked the community to understand that he cannot share more specific information, in order to prevent revealing identifying information about the most recent COVID-19-positive case.
“As I wrote after we had the first case of COVID-19 in our schools nearly a month ago, it is natural to perhaps want more specific information than is contained in this letter. However, as we hope you understand, privacy is important and we will adhere to applicable laws and regulations regarding student and employee confidentiality and privacy. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits the district from sharing personally identifiable information derived from student education records,” Smith explained.
Smith acknowledged that the need for the school to close for at least a day comes at a time that is difficult for the WHS community, which is currently grieving the deaths of two students and one staff member. He said measures will be taken to continue to provide support virtually even while students are unable to be at school in person, and reiterated the administration’s commitment “to providing the best possible care and support to our students and families during this terrible time.”
“This is most unwelcome news at the worst possible time. Our mental health team will continue to check in and make themselves available should students need it. The virtual support line will continue through Friday. It will be open [Thursday] and Friday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.,” he wrote, providing an online link for any student to log on and access immediate support.