Coronavirus Update # 3

Coronavirus Update # 3
Posted on 03/10/2020
Last night, I took part in a phone conference conducted by Governor Lamont and his team of advisors regarding the State’s response to COVID 19 (coronavirus) and the State’s advice about best practices. This meeting was attended by members of our local emergency management team and elected officials. It was apparent in this message that we have moved beyond a time when this disease can be contained and are now facing the need to limit each person’s exposure. This will require a certain amount of social isolation and other prevention techniques. These techniques will have an impact on some activities that are familiar features of our schools. Sadly, this can’t be helped.

The Governor and his team stated a “strong recommendation” that all “non-academic events be held without crowds.” The actual number used to define a crowd was a gathering of 100 or more. This message was reiterated by our local health district, the CT River Health Area District (CRAHD), in an email today.

Further, CRAHD also agrees with the Commissioner of Education, Miguel Cardona, who recommended that out of state field trips and field trips that would put students in close proximity to crowds of people should be canceled.

Unfortunately, at this time, Old Saybrook Public Schools finds it necessary to take the following actions:

• Postpone or cancel all gatherings, assemblies, or after school events. This will include the musical slated to be performed in our High School this weekend. We are working with the directors to try to identify another opportunity to perform the show at another time.

• We are canceling field trips out of state or field trips to locations where 100 or more people are expected to gather. Each administrator will notify families and students about the specifics of canceled field trips before the end of the day tomorrow.

• We will use the standard of fewer than 100 participants and in-state only trips when considering approval of a trip moving forward. An example of a field trip that might be approved is a field trip to a local beach to examine water quality or aquatic life. It would not bring our students into crowds and would not take students out of State.

• Students who are currently involved in internships to medical facilities or are serving as interns in large group settings will not be able to continue at this time. The High School administration will review all internships to be sure that any continuing internships meet the recommended standards.

• Athletic events will be held without spectators.

While a weekly review of these decisions will take place, we anticipate that these practices will continue through April 30, at the very least. We will continue to seek advice from the State Department of Health, CRAHD, and local emergency management. In addition, we will monitor the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Frequently Asked Questions and Current Answers:

What about athletic or music practices or club activities typically held after school?
If they involve fewer than 100 people (most do) and do not include members of the general public, they will proceed as planned.

Will events that include members of the public in schools during the academic day (Science Day or Wellness Day) be canceled or postponed?
Each administrator is reviewing plans for such events at the school level. Activities that involve large members of the public interacting with our students will most likely be canceled or postponed. Activities that bring a guest speaker into our schools may be allowed to continue at this time.

What are the chances that schools will close?
At this time, there are no plans to close the schools. We will monitor local conditions and heed the advice of the CT Department of Health and the Governor’s team if advice is needed.

What are the plans if schools do close?
If schools are closed for an extended period, we have a plan in place for the continuation of instruction. This document is part of the School Security and Safety plan that each school district is required to have.

When will I receive more communication?
We will be communicating regularly as information changes and at least weekly for the duration of this event.