Covid 19 Information

School Closings - March 23. 2020

Good Afternoon:

Please be advised that Westbrook Public Schools will be closed to public access beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24th.  Due to the Governor’s Executive Order 7J, we are required to significantly reduce our in-person staffing to the minimum extent possible to continue our two essential services at this time: 

  • Operating a Continuation of Educational Opportunities Plan for our students, and
  • Operating a daily grab and go lunch service,

While we carry on with these essential functions, we will have limited in-person staff in our schools.  Therefore, our schools will be closed to public traffic for the foreseeable future beginning tomorrow.  If you have a compelling reason to request access to the schools, please call for an appointment with advanced notice. (Please note that distribution of materials outside of the high school will continue as planned tomorrow. Also distribution of Chromebooks for Daisy Students at the front entrance of the elementary school planned for the end of the week will also happen in a safe way.  More procedural details on Chromebook distribution at Daisy's front entrance will be issued in the middle of the week.

In other updates, we will continue with our grab and go lunch program at the front entrance of Daisy Ingraham Elementary School.  Each week, we will make bagged/sealed lunches available outside of the front entrance to Daisy from 12:30 p.m.to 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. These are available to all of our students ages 18 and younger.

We have learned that Bill’s Seafood Restaurant will be offering a free takeout lunch alternative as well on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  They will make the lunches available at Bill’s Seafood Restaurant on those 3 days only from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Children ages 14 and younger will be eligible for those lunches.  Thank you.

Message from the First Selectman - March 23, 2020

MEMORANDUM
DATE: March 23, 2020
TO: All Town Hall Employees, Board and Commission Chairmen and Westbrook Residents
FROM: Noel Bishop, First Selectman
RE: Town Hall/Corona Virus Update


I want to provide an update on items of importance to all of us. Last week, we closed the Town Hall and
did a deep cleaning of our municipal facilities consistent with CDC guidelines to ensure the health of our
municipal staff. During this time, all vital services to the public were continued. This morning, all
Department Heads met and we reviewed how we will continue to perform core responsibilities without
any interruption of services to Westbrook residents.


I am enormously impressed with the commitment and teamwork that has been demonstrated by our
employees doing everything we can, consistent with Governor Lamont’s various Executive Orders.
To continue essential town services, the Town Hall is staffed with the following procedures. The
doors of the building will be locked, and ALL members of the public will need to make an appointment
with the appropriate department regarding their concerns. Whenever possible, specific issues should
be discussed with the employee by telephone or email thereby minimizing social contact. If
necessary, a time can be arranged with an employee to meet with you in person to assist with your
issue.


The Director of Health and I have participated in Governor Lamont’s almost daily press briefings.
Additionally, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Council of Governments, I have received
communication from the other 17 towns and the above protocol for Westbrook’s municipal offices is
consistent with what many of my colleagues are doing in their respective municipalities. To date, four of
the towns have already totally closed their offices. Also, the Superintendent of Schools and I have been
in daily contact with messages that she is communicating to parents.


My office has issued several communications that have been posted on our website; social media when
appropriate and the Director of Health and I recorded a program last week at the Valley Shore
Community Television studio that is also on our website reinforcing all of the CDC guidelines for how to
mitigate this serious virus. There has been and will continue to be constant communication with
frequent updates.


I have been in contact with our local restaurants and, as per the Governor’s orders, only take-out service
is available. I encourage you to give them and all of our Westbrook businesses your support.
Additionally, in a conversation with Vin Capece, President and CEO, Middlesex Health, they are prepared
to care for individuals but request that your primary care physician be your first point of contact if you
are experiencing any symptoms of the Corona Virus. Please go directly to the Emergency Room if your
symptoms appear to be acute.


The Director of Health, in conjunction with Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7B, recommends no inperson Board/Commission meetings in Town Hall but rather Board members and the public must participate in meetings via teleconferencing or video call. The logistics of that are still being finalized. I
would request that all of our Boards/Commissions, unless absolutely necessary, do not schedule any
meetings until further notice; with the exception of the Board of Finance that will need to continue their
budget deliberations but with restrictions.


Finally, on a personal note, my wife, Kit, and I try to take a walk everyday and take a deep breath and
reflect for a moment that during this time of crisis, we live in Westbrook; a community that cares very
deeply about family, neighborhoods and friends. We are all in this together.


The Governor’s central message is “stay home, stay safe”. Please see the town’s website at
www.westbrookct.us or click https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Coronavirus/COVID-19-FAQs.pdf?la=en for
additional information.


As all of us know, the status of the virus and its impact on our communities might necessitate a
change in the above procedures and protocols.


Thank you.

 

 corona march 23 2020.pdf 

Daily Lunch Reminder - March 22, 2020

This message is a reminder that Westbrook Public Schools will be serving grab and go lunches to all students beginning tomorrow, Monday, March 23rd.  The lunches will be available for one hour from12:30pm to 1:30pm.  The lunches may be picked up at the front entrance of Daisy Ingraham Elementary School.  Please note that there will be instructions on how to grab the bagged, sealed lunches at the meal site.  For more information on what the lunches will be please visit our COVID19 web page by going to www.westbrookctschools.org and clicking on the web page address in the big red banner at the top of the page.  Thank you, and remember all of our Westbrook students are eligible for a lunch.

Letter From Superintendent Ciccone Regarding Rollout of Distance Learning Plan - March 19, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians:


Thank you for your patience since Friday’s school closure and going forward as I work with state and
local officials and our school administrators and teachers to implement the district’s planned and
practiced continuity of quality education platform for all of the children of Westbrook. Changes
impacting our plan have been often and rapid, including those emanating from state and federal guidelines
that we must follow. I know, as parents/guardians, that you are concerned about your child’s welfare and
education and that you are feeling a little frustrated right now about the vastness of the unknown.


I am happy to report now that the district is ready to activate its continuity of education platform on
Monday, March 23rd. A team of administrators, our lead curriculum teacher and staff have been working
to organize our hybrid distance learning platform which includes the use of our full G-Suite capabilities,
e.g. Google Classroom, Google Hangouts, etc. as well as hard copy materials and resources. Start-up
instructions for families will be in a forthcoming email from each principal specific to their students and
grade-levels. In the individual principals’ emails, you will also receive information about retrieving
personal belongings from schools, picking up textbooks or other resources and other information specific
to the distance learning process.


Attached to this message are several brief descriptions to help you begin to understand and prepare for
what will be available to your student(s) including: Summary of What Distance Learning Looks Like,
Technology Requirements, Getting Started With Instruction on Day One, Daily Learning Schedules,
Services for Students With Disabilities, Counseling Support Services for Students, and Teacher
Availability. Please understand that these summaries are meant only as initial information to give you an
idea of what the more specific details coming from principals and teachers will address.


Also, beginning on Monday, March 23rd, lunch for all students will be made available at Daisy
Ingraham’s front entrance. Lunches, which will be offered in a grab and go format, will be available
Monday – Friday, each week from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Daisy was chosen as the meal site because it
is on the 9-Town Transit bus route. At this time, all students (ages 18 and younger) are eligible to have
these lunches.


While the process of educating and supporting students remotely may seem daunting, it is more than
doable. I ask that you bear with us as we launch and remember that this is new ground for everyone.
Launching is necessary for us to identify weaknesses and develop our best practices in the coming days.
Know that we look forward to engaging our students in active learning consistent with our expectations
for quality education.


Sincerely,

Patricia A. Ciccone
Superintendent, Westbrook Public Schools

 Parent Community Informational Update 3-19-20.pdf 

Distance Learning Information

Town Hall to Re-Open - March 19, 2020

The Town Hall was closed this past week on advice of our Health Director in order to conduct a thorough cleaning of our municipal buildings, according to CDC guidelines, to ensure the safety of our employees and the public.  During this time, vital services to the public have continued: constables have been on duty; VNA nurses and first responders have been available.   The Town Clerk, Building Official, Director of Health, Finance Office and Selectman’s Office staff have continued with their responsibilities.  The Director of Health and I have been in daily contact and have been monitoring all Press Conferences and Executive Orders from the Governor regarding guidelines on meeting the tremendous needs of this health emergency. 

As First Selectman, I realize the importance and responsibility that your local government has, as one major point of contact for information and support during this crisis.

To continue essential town services, the Town Hall will re-open on Monday, 3/23/20 at 9:00 a.m. with the following procedure.  The doors of the building will be locked, and ALL members of the public will need to make an appointment with the appropriate department regarding their concerns.  Whenever possible, specific issues should be discussed with the employees by telephone or email thereby minimizing social contact.  If necessary, a time can be arranged with an employee to meet with you in person to assist with your issue.  This is a protocol that several other municipal governments have adopted.

We need to finalize procedures for meetings of our Boards and Commissions consistent with Governor Lamont’s Emergency Orders and Freedom of Information guidelines. 

To reiterate, the Town Hall will be open, by appointment, phone, or email only.  The Senior Center, Park and Rec. programs and the Library will remain closed until further notice.  These are the necessary health procedures that we must take to limit the potential spread of the virus.

We appreciate your patience, support and cooperation. 

Noel Bishop, First Selectman

Zachary Faiella, Director of Health

 corona reopen march 19 2020 FINAL.pdf 

Town of Westbrook & Westbrook Public Schools Coronavirus Impact Update - March 17, 2020

As you know, a State of National Emergency and a Declaration of Public Health and Civil Preparedness Emergency have been declared throughout the United States. We urge you, during this time, to act responsibly and do your part to prevent the transmission of the virus. The Town of Westbrook is asking residents to take social distancing very seriously. Through distancing we will slow the spread of COVID-19. The sick among us will be treated, the spread of the virus will slow and we will reach a point where recoveries outnumber new cases.

Please continue to adhere to the established protocols (hand washing, avoid shaking hands, stay home if you are sick, etc.) that are on the Director of Health’s website, www.westbrookct.us. Please note the following:

• School may be out but this is absolutely not the time for parties, sleep-overs, or playdates, no matter the size. Parents play a crucial role in their child’s whereabouts and are advised to keep their children home.

• People may go outside to recreate, but do not congregate with others and refrain from visiting areas where people may have recently congregated such as playgrounds.

• Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (cell phones, remote controls).

• If you do not have to go out, stay home. If possible, stay home from work.

• If you are over 60 or have a serious underlying health condition, stay home and away from people.

• If someone in your household is sick with a fever, cough or shortness of breath, please self-isolate for 14 days and contact your physician. Do not rush to the Emergency Room. • Only travel if it is essential (seeking medical care or food).

The Westbrook community is a family. We are connected and know that your health, safety and well-being are our primary objectives. Together we can manage these challenging times as a community.

If you have any questions please contact the Westbrook Health Department by phone at 860-399-9869 or by email at ZFaiella@WestbrookCT.us or the Town of Westbrook website: www.westbrookct.us.

For more information, visit www.ct.gov/coronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2Findex.html

Noel Bishop, First Selectman, Zachary Faiella, Director of Health and Pat Ciccone, Superintendent of Schools

 

 Town Schools Virus Update 3-17-20.pdf 

Superintendent Memo - March 13, 2020

School Closure Information Due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Dear Parent/Guardians:

I am writing to inform you that the Westbrook Public Schools will be closed until further notice, beginning at 4:00pm today.  At this time, we are prepared to say schools will initially be closed minimally for two weeks.  Please be aware that our ongoing guidance updates will keep you apprised of any need to extend our closure time frame.

On the advice of our local health departments, school superintendents in southeastern Connecticut have come together to make a decision to put the health of our communities (both school community and the community at large) at the center of our decisions to close schools.  We have been advised by state and local health authorities that the implementation of social distancing measures is a proven science-based intervention that has been shown to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with communicable disease outbreaks. In the past, communities in which schools were closed as preventative measures were able to positively impact and reduce the spread of disease. We felt compelled to make this decision to prevent the spread of illness among our students, staff, and our communities. 

We also clearly heard that we cannot confirm that this illness will run its course in two weeks; in fact, it is not likely that it will.  We made the determination to make this closure “indefinite” based on that information.  This decision was made in consultation with and with the support of the health departments, elected officials and emergency management professionals.

There has been much discussion about the concept of distance learning during prolonged absences.  At this time the Connecticut State Department of Education has discouraged districts from utilizing this approach due to concerns over instructional consistency (especially in the early grades), equity of access both intra-district and inter-district, disruption of special education services, and multiple employee contractual issues.  We will continue, during this school closing time frame, to seek ways to provide supplemental education to our students. Should we be able to utilize a distance learning model as we go forward, we will notify parents, students, and staff members of how this will be implemented and when it will be initiated, if at all.

At this time, please be advised that you will be updated on relevant information that is received and vetted from our public health directors, the CDC, and other state officials.  Please continue to monitor our district website and email to ensure receipt of the most current information.  My next official School Closure Update will come to you by end of day (4:00pm) on Friday, March 20th.  Of course, should relevant information be made available sooner, I will update you as needed. 

Thank you for your consideration of this important information.  As our public health depts. have reminded us, it is important to remain calm and informed.

Sincerely,

Patricia A. Ciccone

 

 School Closure Letter to Parent Guardian 3-13-20.pdf 

Superintendent Memo - March 9. 2020

Westbrook Public Schools

Health Information & Guidance

March 9, 2020

Today’s Coronavirus (also known as COVID 19) updates issued by the Governor, the CT Dept. of Public Health, CT Dept. of Education and the CT Dept. of Public Safety and Homeland Security have prompted this informational memo. The purpose of this message is to share current advisement for schools and our Westbrook compliance including our preventive measures and future planning.

Today’s Coronavirus (also known as COVID 19) updates issued by the Governor, the CT Dept. of Public Health, CT Dept. of Education and the CT Dept. of Public Safety and Homeland Security have prompted this informational memo.  The purpose of this message is to share current advisement for schools and our Westbrook compliance including our preventive measures and future planning. 

At our COVID 19 planning meeting today, we cleared all of our cleaning products, which include sanitizers and disinfectants, with the Director of Public Health.  In addition, we discussed our daily and nightly cleaning protocols.  Both our practices and our products were approved as effective against this virus.  Further, we have placed significant product replacement orders with our vendors in order to keep our school supplies available for daily and nightly use and to replenish more frequently as we have stepped up our cleaning frequency.  Cleanings since the start of the flu season in January include wiping doorknobs/handles, desks, chairs, handrails, computers, keyboards, telephones and other common items.  Bathroom fixtures, doors, floors, etc., switch plates and other frequently touched items and equipment are washed, disinfected and sanitized nightly (additional wipe downs daily as needed). 

The above state agencies are in agreement with the Governor that all events such as athletic competitions, plays, concerts, etc. that may generate large audiences or participation rates of 100+ attendees should be cancelled going forward.  Events that do occur should be reduced by live streaming and multiple locations to ensure crowds do not form and that participants are not in close proximity to one another.  We will be reviewing all previously approved events that might expose our students, staff and the public to large gatherings.  Further, field trip requests, that might also expose students and staff to crowds will be reviewed for the threat level that exists at the destination (e.g. numbers of presumptive or confirmed cases of the virus).

In the event the COVID 19 virus is identified within our schools or community, we will follow the recommendations of our local Dept. of Public Health, with whom we are conferring regularly. If school closure is recommended, it will come from the Dept. of Public Health and will include a time limitation (likely to begin with 2 weeks).  Let me be clear, we have no school closure recommendations at this time.  In all of the above information, an important reminder from our Director of Public Health is to remain calm.  Stay connected to our school district website for updated information on our routine school processes.  Should you wish to contact the Westbrook Health Dept. for more information, you may reach our Westbrook Public Health Director, Zachary Faiella at zfaiella@westbrookct.us.  He may also be reached at 860-399-9869.

Patricia A. Ciccone

Superintendent

Westbrook Public Schools

 

 Coronavirus and Flu Update 3-9-20.pdf