On March 11, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser sent out an update regarding the coronavirus to parents, staff and faculty. The message is presented below.
Yesterday, Governor Lamont announced Public Health and Civil Preparedness Emergencies, effective through September 9, 2020 which read in part, “local education officials are directed to follow previously issued guidance and apply relevant principles of risk management to decisions about whether to cancel, modify, or postpone large gatherings, public events, or travel.“ The guidance he references is below.
Districts, in consultation with the municipal or district health department, should consider the directives made to state agencies by the Governor (below) in considering district planning for large events where there would be 100 or more people in attendance such as:
- Athletic events
- School plays/Spring concerts
- Field trips
Summary of Guidance from Governor to State Agencies:
- An immediate freeze on state employee travel for state business outside of Connecticut until further notice. Any State of Connecticut-organized large meetings, conferences, or gatherings anticipated to have more than 100 people in attendance will be evaluated as to whether these events should move to teleconference or be postponed.
- For events or meetings with large numbers of people within arm’s length of each other, encourage those who are at higher risk due to age (70 or older), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or chronic lung diseases like COPD, as well as those with severely weakened immune systems, not to attend or dial in.
- If Connecticut experiences widespread sustained community transmission, public safety considerations including extended school closures as a public health prevention measure will be made at the direction of the Office of the Governor with input from Connecticut State Department of Education, Department of Public Health, and Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
We are in regular communication with our district medical advisor, Vijay Sikand M.D., and the Ledge Light Health District (our local health department). We also monitor the CDC website on a daily basis.
Today, the Ledge Light Health District provided the following notification to school districts within its coverage area:
At this time, school closures in Connecticut have not been directed by Federal and/or State officials. Instead, the Governor and Commissioner have issued guidance. The decision to close schools will be made by school district administration in coordination with and/or at the direction of local health officials. The following protocols are hereby implemented:
- At this time, all school and district offices will remain open, in regular session, for students and staff.
- All enrichment activities/events (evening school concerts, plays, family engagement events, etc.) that are planned for groups of more than 100 people are cancelled beginning today, March 11th through April 30th.
- All out-of-state field trips are cancelled between March 11th and April 30th.
- All winter sports championship tournaments are cancelled. This announcement was made by the CIAC on March 10.
If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 within a school district:
Should there be a need to close schools (due to a confirmed case of COVID-19), (the affected school) or (all schools and district buildings) will be closed for a two-week duration. Please begin to prepare alternative accommodations for your child in the event that a closure is warranted. The school community will be informed about the need for a school closing through our regular communication methods. In addition, the district will keep the school community apprised of updates through regular communications, as the situation may change.
Should the district need to close, the days missed will be made up between June 22-30.
[The superintendent’s message goes on to include general illness-prevention tips and provide links to web pages at the Centers for Disease Control and the Ledge Light Health District.]
We continue to monitor recommendations from the CDC, our district medical advisor, and the Ledge Light Health District and will adjust our position if needed. Any changes will be communicated to parents and staff via email.
[The superintendent’s message concludes with an invitation for residents who may have questions or concerns to contact the superintendent or their school nurse.]