Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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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.

The ability for our schools to remain open for in-person learning is dependent on the actions of our entire community. I continue to urge all residents to follow the appropriate public health protocols so that our community can remain open, but safe. Please refrain from contact sports, wear a mask, social distance, avoid gatherings, and practice good hygiene. Residents are strongly urged to avoid gatherings where adherence to social distancing and mask wearing cannot be accomplished.

Those awaiting test results, whether taken because you are symptomatic or due to COVID exposure, should refrain from going out into the community until you have received the results.

The importance and science of wearing a mask in public cannot be overstated. The link to the latest CDC guidance reiterates those facts: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/masking-science-sars-cov2.html

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