Tuesday, August 09, 2022

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Westport’s Flags Lowered to Half-Staff for Gordon Joseloff

At the request of Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, Gov. Ned Lamont has given permission for the town to lower its flags to half-staff for the remainder of the week in honor of Gordon Joseloff, 75, who died today.

Gordon Joseloff, Nov. 19,2013 when turning over the reins as First Selectman to his successor James Marpe. B
Gordon Joseloff, on Nov. 19 ,2013, when turning over the reins as First Selectman to his successor James Marpe. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

Joseloff, Marpe’s predecessor and publisher of WestportNow.com, had been in hospice care for a couple of weeks at home, suffering from a rare blood cancer he had been diagnosed with three years ago.

“On behalf of all Westporters, I want to express the Town’s sincere condolences to his daughter, Anne-Liisa, and his son, Ben, and to his grandchildren who I know he adored,” Marpe said. “We will all miss Gordon, and we thank him for his friendship and his service to Westport.”

“Gordon’s commitment and dedication to Westport, his hometown, was exemplified in so many ways,” Marpe said.”

Marpe cited Joseloff’s first job as a teenage reporter for the Westport Town Crier, and that he found WWPT, the Staples High School radio station. Joseloff had also served as a Representative Town Meeting (RTM) member, 10 years as its moderator.

“From 2005 to 2013, he served as First Selectman, where he exemplified qualities of leadership, transparency, non-partisanship and accountability within his public service,” Marpe said.

“During his tenure as First Selectman, he faced a variety of crises that included the Great Recession of 2008-09, and a series of major disruptive storms including Hurricane Irene and Super Storm Sandy, where he led the community’s efforts to recover and to emerge even stronger,” he added.

Marpe also lauded Joseloff’s creation nearly 20 years ago of WestportNow.com, which he said “established the national standard for transparent, internet-based community journalism.

“And it remains a ‘go to’ source of fact-based information in Westport,” Marpe said.

“On a personal note, he worked directly with me to assure a smooth transition of responsibility when I was elected to the office of First Selectman following his announced retirement,” Marpe said. “Throughout my term in office, I regularly sought his perspective and advice on a number of key issues. I always found his perspective invaluable.”

Health & Safety Update for Staples High School from Superintendent Scarice

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

Dear Westport Families and Staff,

This evening we were made aware of two individuals at Staples High School who tested positive for COVID-19. The affected persons will be excluded from the school environment and have been instructed to quarantine at home. 

Upon learning of the positive COVID-19 case, the Westport Public Schools conducted initial contact tracing. Those determined to be “close contacts” are defined as individuals who were within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes over a 24 hour period, starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling ill or 48 hours prior to a positive test of an asymptomatic individual. It has been determined that there were staff members and multiple classes within Staples High School needing to quarantine. Others who have been identified as close contacts outside of school have been notified, and contact tracing will continue through the Westport/Weston Health District.

The school district administration is required to comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding student and employee confidentiality and privacy.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) precludes sharing the identity of an individual, with the exception of sharing the individual’s identity with a public health agency (e.g., Westport/Weston Health District).  In addition, the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prevents the school district from publicly sharing personally identifiable information derived from student education records.

In light of these confidentiality and privacy protections and our related legal obligations, as well as the need to protect the health and safety of the school community, we will continue to adhere to the appropriate means of notifying the school community of possible exposure to COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support as we navigate schooling through this difficult time.

Respectfully,
Mr. Thomas Scarice
Superintendent

Mr. Stafford Thomas Jr. JD
Principal

Downtown Westport is Ready for Holiday Shopping

Downtown Westport (CT) decorated for the holidays, Nov. 8, 2020. By Jaime Bairaktaris
The Christmas spirit is here in downtown Westport. The Downtown Merchants Association decorated Westport’s downtown area with wreaths, garlands, and Christmas lights over the weekend to get ready for the 2020 Holiday season, which may bring holiday shopping to the area earlier than ever due to the pandemic. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com

Monday, Nov. 9, 2020


Westport Town Offices & Senior Center are closed to the public.
6 p.m. – 646-876-9923 ID:  867 9815 7266 – RTM Finance & RTM Public Work Committees
7 p.m. – 646-876-9923 ID:  837 3931 0525 – Westport Weston Health District Board of Directors
8 p.m. – 646-876-9923 ID:  878 2505 5531 Code: 763116 – Levitt Pavilion Sub Committee

Westport Senior Center YouTube Channel
Westport Library Event Calendar
Westport Library YouTube Page
Earthplace YouTube Channel
Virtual Westport Museum for History & Culture
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar

Three Health & Safety Updates from Superintendent Scarice

Superintendent Thomas Scarice sent three health and safety notices today. We have combined them below. Immediate impact—Coleytown Elementary School (from 2nd Notice): both cohorts of each kindergarten and 4th grade classroom will switch to remote learning.

Dear Westport Families and Staff,

First Notice: This afternoon I was made aware of both positive and presumptive cases of COVID-19 at Greens Farms Elementary School. The affected individuals have either been in quarantine previously or will be moving forward.

Upon learning of the positive and presumptive COVID-19 cases, the Westport Public Schools conducted initial contact tracing. Those determined to be “close contacts” are defined as individuals who were within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes over a 24 hour period, starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling ill or 48 hours prior to a positive test of an asymptomatic individual. It has been determined that there were exposures in two fifth grade classrooms and on one school van. Those impacted have been notified.

Second Notice: This evening I was made aware of two additional positive cases of COVID-19, this time at Coleytown Elementary School. The affected persons will be excluded from the school environment and have been instructed to quarantine at home.

Upon learning of the positive COVID-19 cases, the Westport Public Schools conducted initial contact tracing. Those determined to be “close contacts” are defined as individuals who were within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes over a 24 hour period, starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling ill or 48 hours prior to a positive test of an asymptomatic individual. It has been determined that there were exposures in a kindergarten classroom, 4th grade classroom, and one school bus. 

Multiple staff and students have been impacted by these positive COVID-19 cases. The number of staff member absences does impact our ability to provide appropriate coverage for the kindergarten and 4th grade cohorts not considered close contacts. As a result, both cohorts of each kindergarten and 4th grade classroom will switch to remote learning for greater continuity with their teachers.

Third Notice: Additional positive cases of COVID-19 were reported tonight, one at Long Lots Elementary School, and one at Staples High School. The affected persons will be excluded from the school environment and have been instructed to quarantine at home. 

Upon learning of the positive COVID-19 cases, the Westport Public Schools conducted initial contact tracing. Those determined to be “close contacts” are defined as individuals who were within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes over a 24 hour period, starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling ill or 48 hours prior to a positive test of an asymptomatic individual.

It has been determined that there were exposures in one first grade classroom at Long Lots Elementary School and one school bus associated with that case. One staff member and one cohort of students are impacted by that positive COVID-19 case. All have been notified through direct communication by Dr. Debra Dunn, Principal. There were no school based exposures from the positive COVID-19 case reported at Staples High School.


The school district administration is required to comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding student and employee confidentiality and privacy.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) precludes sharing the identity of an individual, with the exception of sharing the individual’s identity with a public health agency (e.g., Westport/Weston Health District).  In addition, the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prevents the school district from publicly sharing personally identifiable information derived from student education records.

In light of these confidentiality and privacy protections and our related legal obligations, as well as the need to protect the health and safety of the school community, we will continue to adhere to the appropriate means of notifying the school community of possible exposure to COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis.

As a reminder, and as cases continue to rise in the community, it is important to continue implementing mitigating measures, such as handwashing/sanitizing, social distancing, and wearing of face masks, throughout all phases of our daily lives when interacting with others outside of school and our homes.

It has been a busy weekend managing the multiple reports of positive COVID-19 cases linked to our schools. I want to thank our staff, working in partnership with our families, for their diligent efforts processing everything.

Respectfully,
Thomas Scarice
Superintendent of Schools

Introducing: ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’

Ribbon-cutting, Rock, Paper, Scissors sculpture donation, Westport, CT Nov. 8, 2020
First Selectman Jim Marpe cuts the ribbon to officially introduce the sculpture “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” donated by Bill Scheffler and Ann Sheffer. Joining Marpe are (l-r) Bill Harmer, Westport Library executive director; Kathie Bennewitz, Westport public arts curator; Nancy Diamond, co-chair of the Westport Arts Advisory Committee; Bill Scheffler; and Ann Sheffer. The sculpture is located on the Westport Library lawn. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020


Westport Senior Center & Library are closed.
Noon – 2 p.m. – MoCA Westport – “World Peace” exhibit
3 p.m. – Virtual Westport Library – How Can Art be a Bridge to Change?
6 p.m. – WWPT 90.3 FM or www.wwptfm.org – Staples Players presents “Pride & Predjudice”

Westport Senior Center YouTube Channel
Westport Library Event Calendar
Westport Library YouTube Page
Earthplace YouTube Channel
Virtual Westport Museum for History & Culture
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar