Tuesday, September 21, 2021

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Staples Beats Ridgefield

Soccer: Staples Wreckers beats Ridgefield on Oct. 14, 2020
Alan Fiore (taking a shot in photo) got the game-winner for Staples at Ridgefield on Oct. 14 with just 10 minutes left in the game. The Wreckers boys soccer team went up 1-0 on an early strike by Haydn Siroka, then added a penalty kick from Surya Balaji. But the Tigers came back in the second half with a corner kick goal and penalty kick of their own. Fiore’s rip, with assists from Zach Pulichino and Jack Foster, was the margin of victory. Staples hosts Ridgefield in a rematch on Monday, Oct. 19. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Barry Guiduli for WestportNow.com

Superintendent Says No to Full-Time In-Person School for Now

By Jarret Liotta

Schools will remain in the hybrid model at least through December, largely based on expectations that virus infection numbers will trend upward in the coming weeks.

At a Special Meeting of the Board of Education (BOE) Tuesday night Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice shared his decision—part of which is based on his belief that the current hybrid model is also offering students the best educational experience during the pandemic.

“I don’t think bringing kids back fully for four weeks in a pandemic model is really in the best interest right now when we have a model that is working,” he said, stating that health officials are warning of “significant upticks” in virus numbers by Thanksgiving.

“The prudent approach right now is the correct approach to take,” he said.

BOE Delays Update

The Westport Board of Education said today it has asked Superintendent Thomas Scarice to delay any update on schools reopening until Tuesday.

“While we are sensitive to the fact that many in our school community eagerly await the superintendent’s decision on the next phase of reopening our schools, the board has asked Mr. Scarice to briefly delay that decision until after a special meeting of the board of education tomorrow evening at 7 p.m.,” said an email to parents.

“This meeting will give both the board and the public an opportunity to hear our superintendent’s proposed plan, and for our superintendent to receive further feedback. 

“Thank you for your patience as we seek to set the best path forward for our school community.”

Schools Update From Superintendent

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

Dear Families of Westport Students,

We have included three important updates in this parent communication: an update on the school reopening model and process to determine full on-site schooling, an annual notification of approved vendors to house student data, and a reminder to families to complete the returning student forms.

Update on School Reopening Model and Process to Determine Full On-Site Schooling

I had the opportunity Monday night to share the potential next phase in our school reopening plan with the Board of Education.  Before the school year began, the district made a commitment to revisit our reopening model after four weeks of instruction. This timeline aligns with Phase 3 of the statewide reopening plan for Connecticut which begins on Thursday October 8. 

Despite Low Virus Numbers, In-Person School Could Cause Challenges

By Jarret Liotta

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice intends to wait another week before making his recommendation on whether to reopen the elementary schools full time, but he made it clear that staffing in particular could present a formidable resultant challenge.

The Board of Education (BOE) heard updates from Scarice and Suzanne Levasseur, supervisor of health services, Monday night amidst divided opinions from parents.

“It’s a tough spot to be in,” Chair Candice Savin told Scarice, who is gathering feedback from all 1,000 school employees over the next several days, as well as health officials, before making a decision he said would probably come next Monday.

“By the end of the week we’ll certainly be a lot clearer,” he said, noting there were 115 elementary classes that would require safe, appropriate set up—19 of which have 21 or more students.

Finally, Staples Boys Soccer Begins

Haydn Siroka, Staples Boys Soccer, Westport CT
At long last, the shortened Staples boys soccer season began. Danbury edged the Wreckers 2-1 at Loeffler Field Friday. But this year, in a home-and-home format with only six teams in Staples’ division, Staples seek revenge on Monday at Danbury. Reese Watkins scored for the Westporters. Haydn Siroka (photo) had several solid chances on goal. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Drew Douglas for WestportNow.com

COVID-19 Case at Long Lots El

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice said tonight a COVID-19 case was reported at Long Lots Elementary school.

“Early this evening Dr. Debra Dunn, Principal of Long Lots Elementary School, learned of a positive COVID-19 test in one of the school’s fifth grade classes,” he said in an email to parents.

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

He said upon learning of the positive COVID-19 case, the administration began immediate contact tracing. 

School Start Looking Good Thus Far

By Jarret Liotta

So far, so good …

Despite a case of COVID-19 on the third day of school — which brought a brief shutdown of Coleytown Elementary School (CES) — Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice reported positive progress to the Board of Education (BOE) tonight regarding the opening of school.

“I’m very, very proud of where we are and it’ll only get better,” he said.

“We’re not without challenges,” he said — among them technology glitches and initial delays with student drop-off and pickup — but overall operations appear fluid and continue to improve.