Friday, May 20, 2022

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Superintendent Scarice Issues COVID-19 Update

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

Dear Westport Families and Staff,

This afternoon the district was made aware of two related positive COVID-19 cases in our schools. The affected individuals, one from Kings Highway Elementary School, and the other, from Bedford Middle School, have not been in the schools in recent days. They will remain excluded from both school environments and have been instructed to continue quarantining at home. 

Upon learning of the positive COVID-19 cases, the administration began immediate contact tracing. It has been determined that no other individuals at either school were identified as “close contacts.”

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 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.

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. Judgement will be used and each case might look a little different from another.

With the cases I have shared today, I want to thank the affected individuals for reporting their positive results to our staff. This allowed for swift contact tracing that identified no need to quarantine additional members of the Kings Highway Elementary School and Bedford Middle School communities.

Tomorrow is Halloween. I implore all of our students and families that celebrate the holiday to take the necessary safety precautions with any plans for the day.

Sincerely,
Thomas Scarice
Superintendent of Schools

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