Wednesday, September 22, 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.

Winter Farmers Market Kicks Off at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens

The Westport (CT) Winter Farmers Market opened today at Gilbertie's Herb Gardens, Nov. 12, 2020, photo by Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The Winter Farmers Market (WFM) opened today at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens at 7 Sylvan Lane. According to WFM Executive Director Lori Cochran-Dougall, “there are a few differences from prior years … we’re now open on Thursdays instead of Saturdays and, observing Covid-19 safety precautions, it’s an open-air market held throughout three greenhouses ensuring a constant stream of airflow.” She added, “Over 35 vendors provide high-quality locally grown or raised fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, milk, baked and prepared foods, as well as some handmade items.” The WFM will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays (except holidays) until March 11, 2021. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Marpe: Large Gatherings, Parties, & Sports Activities Spark Uptick in COVID-19 Cases

First Selectman Jim Marpe issued the following statement today:

Last night, Westport Public Schools (WPS) Superintendent Tom Scarice announced that Bedford and Coleytown Middle Schools and Staples High School will be operating on a full remote teaching model for all students and staff today and tomorrow. The potential reopening of these schools will be considered for Monday, November 16. This decision is based on the volume of new COVID cases that limit the schools’ ability to open for in-school learning.

Mr. Scarice assures Town officials that while COVID cases have been discovered in the school population, administrators’ swift response to new cases has resulted in little to no widespread COVID contamination. However, new cases require immediate attention, which include quarantining and contact tracing. While the lack of spread demonstrates that the processes in place are working, the schools are continually being challenged by new cases apparently brought on by outside activities.

Mr. Scarice noted that investigations and contact tracing reveal that the new cases are the result of a number of recent large gatherings, parties, and sports activities that involve students or their parents. We continue to see disturbing proof of these activities. Unfortunately, they include images of young people in close contact with one another and without face coverings. I have committed to the Superintendent that Town officials and I will work closely with the schools to promote guidance and regulations that will curb these activities. To that end, I have requested Westport Parks and Recreation Director Jen Fava to research reinstating earlier COVID-related policies at Westport parks, fields, and recreation facilities.

Coleytown Middle School Handover Delayed

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

Dear Westport Families and Staff,

Last evening the Coleytown Middle School Building Committee (CSMBC) informed the Westport Board of Education (BoE) that the school renovations will not be completed on time. This will delay the handover of the school from the CSMBC to the BoE as scheduled for November 20, 2020. The CSMBC will provide a formal update to the BoE at the November 16, 2020, BoE meeting, at which time the BoE expects to determine a new date for a handover of the school.

The comprehensive timeline for reopening Coleytown Middle School from the date of handover by the CSMBC to the BoE, as discussed by the BoE at its prior meeting, remains intact. These preparations by the BoE and administration will ensure the school is ready to greet staff and students as soon as the CSMBC completes its work.

Sincerely,
Thomas Scarice
Superintendent

Turkeys Join the COVID-19 Testing Line

Turkeys join the COVID testing line in Westport, CT, Nov. 12, 2020, by Jaime Bairaktaris
A gang of wild turkeys kept the attention of people in the nearly 200 cars in line at the Long Lots Road COVID-19 testing site this morning. By 7:30 a.m., the wait time for a test was estimated to be two hours or longer, per Westport police officers. A Hartford Healthcare worker said it “hasn’t been this busy since April, if not busier. We are not to order anymore tests for the Westport location this week.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com

Bedford/Coleytown Middle School, Staples to Full Remote Nov. 12 & 13

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

Dear Westport Families and Staff,

For November 12th and 13th, Bedford/Coleytown Middle School and Staples High School will be operating through a full remote teaching model for all students and staff. The principals will be sending further information this evening about the schedules for both days.

The decision to move our secondary schools to a remote model for two days came as a result of several individuals testing positive and the subsequent need to quarantine many individuals and continue contact tracing. Due to the number of quartainted staff members, we are unable to appropriately staff our secondary buildings and supervise our students.

As of the time I am writing to you this evening we have 12 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the following schools, including 5 new cases in the past few hours:

  • Coleytown Elementary School - 2
  • Greens Farms Elementary School - 2
  • Kings Highway Elementary School - 1
  • Bedford/Coleytown Middle School - 2
  • Staples High School - 5

Veterans Day Ceremony at VFW Post 399

Veterans Day Ceremony at VFW Post 399, Westport, CT, 11-11-2020, by Dave Matlow
A Veterans Day ceremony, with limited attendance due to COVID-19 precautions, was held outdoors at the VFW Post 399 on Riverside Avenue. Former Commander of VFW Post 399, Tom Dubrosky (left), served as master of ceremonies and requested a moment of silence to honor the late Gordon F. Joseloff, former two-term First Selectman, who died Nov. 9. First Selectman Jim Marpe (speaking) honored VFW Post 399 on its 100-year anniversary. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com