UPDATE: Wilton Officials Keeping Schools Open “Per Health Department”

UPDATE, Sunday, March 8 6 p.m.–Wilton Public School officials have said that their determination to keep schools open following the announcement of a presumptive positive coronavirus case in town was made following consultation with the Health Department and medical advisors.

“We’re going on the recommendations of the Health Department and the health officials with whom we work,” said Maria Coleman, the emergency operations contact for the district. “We’re in communication with the district pediatrician and Visiting Nurse and Hospice. The health department is certainly at the forefront of this and their communication with the State Health Department. There are a lot of people that are reviewing the information and making recommendations related to school.”

Coleman said the district does not have any information on the identity of the Wilton patient nor whether he or she has children in the district. The only thing she says they were told was that opening the schools Monday would be okay.

“Based on whatever they have been able to confirm it was recommended that we hold school,” she said.

ORIGINAL STORY, Sunday March 8, 3 p.m.–Following news that the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus in Connecticut is a Wilton resident, Wilton school officials have reached out to the school community to announce that school will be held as scheduled Monday, March. 9.

The letter, from the school district’s emergency operations point person Maria Coleman, said that officials were “in immediate contact with Wilton Director of Health Barrington Bogle.” They were not advised to close schools, but will “continue to monitor the situation very closely” and will provide updates as information becomes available.

On Friday, school officials announced that all school-sponsored before and after-school activities would be postponed “in an effort to reduce the number of non-essential group gatherings” in order to prevent potential spread of illness. Coleman reiterated that the decision to curtail activities was made “out of an abundance of caution, not because of a specific event or concern about a person or group of people within our schools.”

Additional steps and plans for possible continuity of instruction in the case of school closure will be shared later this week. Coleman talked about this in an interview with GOOD Morning Wilton on Friday.

Below is the letter from Coleman in full:

Dear Parents, Guardians, Caregivers, and Colleagues,

Today, the Connecticut Department of Health State Laboratory confirmed the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus in the state, and the person is a Wilton resident. Naturally, this information may lead you to wonder whether school will be held on Monday, among other things. Upon learning this information, we were in immediate contact with Wilton Director of Health Barrington Bogle. As of now, we have not been advised to close schools on Monday, and we plan to hold a normal school day. We continue to monitor the situation very closely and will update you as more information becomes available.

As a reminder, we have postponed school-sponsored before and after-school activities this week in an effort to reduce the number of non-essential group gatherings. This practice is in alignment with social distancing – actions that are taken to prevent the spread of illness in instances when such behavior is warranted. We are taking this course of action out of an abundance of caution, not because of a specific event or concern about a person or group of people within our schools. In addition, we continue to take universal precautions and have increased cleaning protocols within our buildings. These practices are consistently noted as the best ways to safeguard against the spread of illness.

As noted in our letter on Friday afternoon, we will be sharing our plan to maintain continuity of instruction (in the event that school is cancelled) later this week. Should anything change in regards to our current plan, we will let you know.

Best regards,
Maria Coleman – Emergency Operations