Tuesday, September 21, 2021

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Superintendent Scarice Offers Holiday Guidance

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

Dear Families of Westport Students:

Our community and the world has lived through a series of holidays since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Whether religious or secular in nature, we have all made tough decisions about the safest means to carry on traditions associated with them. Unfortunately tough decisions remain as we head into the fall and early winter holidays. I respectfully ask that you join me in making safe plans to celebrate the upcoming holidays, especially if including family and friends is to be considered.

Below is a list of the major holidays arriving shortly on our calendars. While not an exhaustive list, and certainly one that doesn’t take into account other celebrations such as anniversaries and birthdays, it does remind us of the dates and days of the week these holidays will take place.

Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020, is not a national holiday, but it is a day when schools are not in session. It is important for all of our students and families to remain vigilant with the use of mitigation strategies outside of school. (social distancing, mask wearing, etc.)

Compo to Close at 3 p.m. Halloween

To discourage parents, children, parents, and assorted trick or treaters from congregating at Compo Beach in the wake of COVID-19 Halloween, the beach will be closed to parking that day at 3 p.m., town officials said.

According to Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, the closure is “an effort to protect the health and safety of Westport residents and keep our schools open.”

The announcement said that parking after 3 p.m. will only available to Compo Marina slip holders.

The reason for the vigilance stems from recent state data on COVID-19 cases by community, with the town’s neighbors Fairfield and Norwalk now considered “red” municipalities with a 15 or more COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.

Staples Players Take to the Radio

Sophia Betit (SHS '23) in a recording session for The Wizard of Oz, in which she plays a Munchkin. Staples High School, Westport CT
Staples Players isn’t allowing COVID-19 to keep them from performing. Instead, they’re offering free radio performances via WWPT 90.3 FM or livestream at www.wwptfm.org. Three performances are scheduled: “The Wizard of Oz” at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 25; “Pride & Prejudice” on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 6 p.m.; and “It’s a Wonderful Life” at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22. Above, Sophia Betit (SHS ‘23) in a recording session for “The Wizard of Oz,” in which she plays a Munchkin. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kerry Long for WestportNow.com

WPS Honor Students for Embodying ‘Guiding Principles’

Westport Public Schools honors students embodying Guiding Principles, James Dobin-Smith, Colin Konstanty, & Caroline Caggiano
The Westport Public Schools adopted the “Guiding Principles” to provide a foundation for its work across the district and define outcomes they deem as essential for all students and are honoring students from each grade level whom they believe best embody these principles: Socially and Emotionally Aware, Kind with Sincerity, Principled in Thought and Action, and Learning Always. Pictured, from left to right: James Dobin-Smith, Colin Konstanty, and Caroline Caggiano. Missing from picture: Rachel Greenberg, Natalia Maidique, and Kyla Race. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Plans in Play to Reopen CMS

By Jarret Liotta

Students may finally be back at Coleytown Middle School (CMS) by Dec. 14, but school officials can’t guarantee it.

Monday night the Board of Education (BOE) heard details about the transition plans, which will require Dec. 9 and 10 becoming fully remote school days for all middle school students to augment the move of equipment and furniture from Bedford Middle School (BMS) to CMS.

“I just want to be clear with the public ... There is some level of risk and there are some pieces that aren’t gonna be inherently in our control,” cautioned BOE Chair Candice Savin in regard to the dates.

“At this point right now we’re looking at Nov. 20 as being the date that the building committee will hand the building over to the board,” Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice said.

Wreckers Field Hockey Defeats Tigers in Overtime

Staples Girls Field Hockey defeats Ridgefield Tigers in overtime Oct. 19, 2020
Staples field hockey’s potent offense was completely stalled for three periods against Ridgefield today, failing to score any of their 15 shots on goal. The Wreckers relied on their dominating defense which allowed the Tigers zero shots on goal. The 0-0 tie at the end of regulation forced an overtime, which was ended after barely a minute by sophomore Francine Stevens, who scored the winning goal, maintaining the Wreckers position as undefeated in this abbreviated season. Staples plays five opponents, two times each and will face Ridgefield again Wednesday, Oct. 21, at home. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

Wreckers Soccer Shuts Out Tigers

Staples Boys Soccer beats Ridgefield Oct. 19, 2020
Alan Fiore’s goal in the first five minutes set the tone Monday. Staples boys soccer was in command for 80 minutes, shutting out Ridgefield 3-0 at Loeffler Field. Fiore tacked on another goal, after Jackson Hochhauser tallied. Hochhauser, Graham Barnes, and Surya Balaji added assists. The Wreckers travel to Brien McMahon on Wednesday, Oct. 21. In the photo, Staples goalkeeper Sebi Montoulieu punches a ball clear, while a swarm of Wrecker defenders (blue) help out. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Barry Guiduli for WestportNow.com

Superintendent: Another COVID-19 Case at Long Lots

Superintendent Thomas Scarce sent the following email to parents today:

Earlier today Dr. Debra Dunn, Principal of Long Lots Elementary School, learned of another positive COVID-19 test in the school. The affected individual was already under quarantine at home and will continue to be excluded from the school environment. 

Upon learning of the positive COVID-19 case, the administration began immediate contact tracing. Those determined to be “close contacts,” including some staff members, and another fourth grade class of students, separate from the one I shared on October 15, 2020, have been notified. These individuals spent a significant amount of time in the presence of the positive case, and as a result, were informed that they will be excluded from the school environment and recommended to quarantine for 14 days and may return to school on October 30. They were also asked to reach out to their health care provider should they develop any symptoms consistent with COVID-19. To be clear, siblings and other family members of these children and staff do not need to quarantine.

As I have shared in prior communications of a similar nature, working closely with the Westport/Weston Health District and our medical advisor, it has been confirmed that the staff and students have implemented our mitigating measures by maintaining distance to the maximum extent possible, and by wearing masks. However, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE)/Department of Public Health (DPH) guidance (Addendum 5 and Addendum 9) indicates that decisions for exclusion from school and quarantine will be based on the individual circumstances of each case, including those who have spent a significant amount of time (i.e. more than 15 minutes) in the presence of a positive case, regardless of mask wearing.

Halloween Window Painting Contest Seeks Artists

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) is seeking artists and businesses to take part in the eighth annual Halloween Window Painting Contest set for Saturday, Oct. 24, it was announced.

WestportNow.com Image

According to Matthew Mandell, WWCC executive director, the event in which children paint merchants’ windows for prizes is expected to to be the largest since the contest’s inception.

The contest is open to elementary, middle school and high school students and has three competition categories: most scary, best Halloween themed and most original.

Nine painters or teams of painters will win $25 gift certificates to Donut Crazy and have photos of them and their artwork posted on social media and local press, the announcement said.

Superintendent: COVID-19 Case at Long Lots

Superintendent Thomas Scarce sent the following email to parents tonight:

“Early this evening Dr. Debra Dunn, Principal of Long Lots Elementary School, learned of a positive COVID-19 test in the school.

“The affected individual will be excluded from the school environment and has been instructed to quarantine at home. 

“Upon learning of the positive COVID-19 case, the administration began immediate contact tracing.