Tuesday, September 21, 2021

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WestportNow welcomes news and notices from Westport community organizations and individuals. Please send them to [email protected] for consideration for publication. Be sure to include the Westport connection, date and time of event, if appropriate, as well as contact information. WestportNow reserves the right to edit submissions to conform to our editorial style.

Scarice: 13 Newly Confirmed Cases of COVID-19

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice today issued the following update to school families:

Dear Westport Families and Staff,

In our efforts to remain transparent with reports of positive Covid-19 cases associated with our schools, we will continue to provide these updates as information is confirmed. As of the time I am writing to you this evening we have 13 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 from Monday, November 16th and Tuesday November 17th from the following schools:

  • Coleytown Elementary School – 2
  • Saugatuck Elementary School – 1
  • Bedford Middle School – 1
  • Staples High School – 9

Those impacted have been notified by school and District officials. As a reminder, families are asked to report positive of COVID-19 cases of students using our reporting voicemail or email regardless of whether the students are in remote or hybrid models of instruction. Please follow this link for more information on reporting.

Respectfully,
Thomas Scarice
Superintendent of Schools

WestportNow to Cease Publication at End of November

After nearly 18 years of providing 24/7 coverage of Westport-related news, WestportNow will cease publication at the end of November.

WestportNow was founded by Gordon Joseloff in March 2003 as one of the nation’s first professionally written and edited community news sites. Joseloff, who was the sole publisher of WestportNow since its inception, died Nov. 9, 2020.  (See WestportNow November 9, 2020)

“WestportNow was more than a job to our father,” said Joseloff’s children, Westporters Anna-Liisa Nixon and Ben Joseloff, in a statement. “It was the natural culmination of two of his life-long passions: journalism and Westport.”

“Like many small business owners, he devoted nearly every waking hour to its success. WestportNow would never have had such a remarkable run without the contributions of many talented individuals, but Gordon Joseloff was the heart and soul of the newsroom’s 24/7 operations,” said Joseloff’s children.

Scarice: Bedford/Coleytown Remains in Full Remote Through Thanksgiving

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice today issued the following update to school families:

Dear Westport Families and Staff,

Bedford/Coleytown Middle School will remain in a full remote learning model through the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. Despite our efforts to return to the hybrid model at the middle school, additional positive cases of COVID-19, and the associated quarantines involving staff this weekend, have impacted our ability to provide adequate supervision at the school. Bedford/Coleytown Middle School will remain in a full remote teaching model through November 25th. The majority of our staff in quarantine will be coming out of that status over the holiday weekend, so we anticipate returning to hybrid operation on November 30th.

In my correspondence with the community on Friday about plans for both Staples High School and Bedford/Coleytown Middle School, I shared our plans to reallocate staff from the high school to the middle school for help with coverage needs. Unfortunately, over the weekend, we became aware of 17 additional positive cases of COVID-19 in the District which greatly increased the number of staff forced to quarantine. This is consistent with the trend across the region as all school districts are facing similar challenges. 

To put things in greater perspective, Bedford/’Coleytown Middle School now has 3 full teams of teachers along with 9 encore teachers in quarantine. As a result, nearly 350 students had to move to distance learning.

Ms. Szabo, Principal of Coleytown Middle School, and Dr. Rosen, Principal of Bedford Middle School, will send additional information to their students, families, and staff about plans for the days ahead.

Sincerely,
Thomas Scarice
Superintendent

Remarkable Discovery at Five Church Lane

Remarkable Bookcycle, Westport, CT Nov. 15, 2020, by Jaime Bairaktaris
With the help of a motor scooter and a Westport Police Department escort to peddle it, the Remarkable Bookcycle is now located at Bedford Square’s Five Church Lane. The Bookcycle, launched by NYT’s Best Selling Author Jane Green and built by Westporter Ryan Peterson, offers a free library for adults and children that is curated by a team of volunteers. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com

Marpe: Westport COVID-19 Classification Now Red

First Selectman Jim Marpe issued the following statement today:

Westport COVID Red as of Nov. 13, 2020
Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town - Westport data highlighted (CLICK TO ENLARGE) CT Dept. of Public Health

The State of Connecticut has implemented a color-coded map indicating the average daily rate of COVID-19 cases among persons living in community settings per 100,000 population by town. According to a 14-day rolling average, Westport has a rate of 22.4 corresponding to the “red” category of 15+ cases per 100,000.  The colors are meant to give communities an accurate account of the prevalence of COVID-19 so that appropriate personal precautions can be managed. The map and additional data links may be found at www.westportct.gov/covid19.

Given this status, the CT Department of Health (DPH) recommends the following:

  • High risk individuals stay home and stay safe.
  • Others should limit trips outside of the home and avoid gatherings with non-family members.
  • Organized indoor activities, as well as outdoor activities where social distancing and mask wearing cannot be maintained, should be postponed.
  • Gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people.

As noted in our November 12 press release, the new COVID cases are primarily a result of large gatherings, parties and organized sports activities. As such, the Westport Public Schools, Westport businesses and restaurants and other public facilities will continue to operate under the State’s Phase 2.1 guidelines. The Westport Library will remain open with its expanded hours and services (M-F 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.). All Library events will continue to be virtual.  Visit www.westportlibrary.org for more information.

Superintendent Scarice: More COVID-19 Cases Reported in Schools

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice today issued the following update to school families:

Dear Westport Families and Staff,

As of the time I am writing to you this evening we have 6 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the following schools:

  • Greens Farms Elementary School - 2
  • Staples High School - 4

Today’s reports of positive COVID-19 cases have led to additional quarantines of staff and students at Staples High School. Those impacted have been notified by school and District officials.

As a reminder, families can report positive of COVID-19 cases of students using our report phone line voicemail or email. Please follow this link for more information.