Covid 19 Information

  • Re-Opening Presentation and Survey

    Dear Parents,

    As we get closer to the start of school on September 1st, I am certain there are questions you have about the opening of Westbrook Public Schools.  As you know the plans are evolving based on local needs, the spread of COVID-19, and data that is updated constantly.  The district plan is posted on the home page of our website at www.westbrookctschools.org. It is a broad plan that addresses three different scenarios based on the level of threat from the virus. 

    An informational broadcast will be held on Wednesday, August 5th at 6:00 PM to discuss the district plan.  The administrators and I welcome your questions and will answer them based on our most current information.  Please complete the form available at the following link to submit your questions: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfwJ1OnhkrEMVYuGzprjPneYuYU15TV39b1diVPWXLnQoo-Ag/viewform.  It is also available on our Covid 19 page at https://www.westbrookctschools.org/covid19 in the link titled "Public Feedback for Re-Opening".

    The webinar will be broadcast on the district YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHi6y2EA0g-bsJmypyAxnbQ

    Follow up informational sessions will be held by school principals with specific details about how each level will respond to reopening its doors.  An invitation will be sent within the next two weeks.  Additionally, an informational program from the Athletics Department is scheduled for August 11th at 5:00.  The link will be sent out in a separate email.

    We look forward to getting back to school and the opportunity to work with you and your children.

     

    Sincerely,

    Patricia Charles 

     

    Covid Info
  • Letter to Parents

    Dear Parents,

    As we prepare for students to come back to school on September 1, the principals and I will be communicating frequently with you about the changes your child will experience upon their return.  Below is a checklist from the CDC that has been tailored for Westbrook that outlines some of the precautions and procedures we will be following. By working together, we can ensure the best possible health, safety and academic outcomes:

    *Before school each day you will be asked to record on an electronic form the following:

    • Check in with your child each morning for signs of illness. If your child has a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, they should not go to school.
    • Make sure your child does not have a sore throat or other signs of illness, like a cough, diarrhea, severe headache, vomiting, or body aches.
    • If your child has had close contact to a COVID-19 case, they should not go to school. Follow guidance on what to do when someone has known exposure.

    When your child is sick please contact the school office:

    Daisy Ingraham 860-399-7925  Westbrook Middle 860-399-2010  Westbrook High 860-399-6214

    *Be familiar with local COVID-19 testing sites in the event you or your child develops symptoms. These may include sites with free testing available.

    Local Testing Options:  CVS Guilford and CVS East Lyme for adults.  Children must go through their pediatrician, your local hospital or Community Health Center in Middletown or New London - 475 -241-0740.

    *Make sure your child is up-to-date with all recommended vaccines, including for flu. All school-aged children should get an influenza flu vaccine every season, with rare exceptions. This is especially important this year because we do not yet know if being sick with COVID-19 at the same time as the flu will result in more severe illness.

    *Review and practice proper hand washing techniques at home, especially before and after eating, sneezing, coughing, and adjusting a face cover. Make hand washing fun and explain to your child why it is important.

    *Pack a water bottle for your child each day.  Water fountains will not be used, except at the middle school where there are water bottle filling stations.

    *Develop daily routines before and after school—for example, things to pack for school in the morning (like hand sanitizer and an additional (back up) cloth face covering) and things to do when you return home (like washing hands immediately and washing worn cloth face coverings).

    *Talk to your child about precautions to take at school. Children may be advised to:

    • Wash and sanitize their hands more often.
    • Keep physical distance from other students.
    • Wear a cloth face covering.
    • Avoid sharing objects with other students, including water bottles, devices, writing instruments, and books.
    • Use hand sanitizer (that contains at least 60% alcohol.) Make sure you’re using a safe product. FDA recalled products that contain toxic methanol.
    • Monitor how they feel and tell an adult if they are not feeling well.

    *Develop a plan as a family to protect household members who are at increased risk for severe illness

    *Make sure your information is current at school, including emergency contacts and individuals authorized to pick up your child(ren) from school. If that list includes anyone who is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, consider identifying an alternate person.

    *Be familiar with Westbrook’s plan for communicating with families when a positive case or exposure to someone with COVID-19 is identified.  Student confidentiality will be maintained.  Students and staff who become sick at school or who arrive at school sick will be sent home as soon as possible. We will keep anyone sick separate from well students and staff until the sick person can be sent home. The Health department will assess students and staff who have been sent home due to suspected symptoms.

    If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19, the cohort or school will most likely be dismissed for a time determined by the health department.  The superintendent will immediately call Health Director Zachary Faiella and the school will be cleaned and disinfected. The Westbrook Health Department will follow up with the student/staff member and their family to provide additional guidance.

    *Plan for possible school closures or periods of quarantine. If transmission is increasing in our community or if multiple children or staff test positive for COVID-19, the school building might be closed for an extended period of time. Similarly, if a close contact of your child (within or outside of school) tests positive for COVID-19, your child may need to stay home for a 2-week quarantine period. You may need to consider the feasibility of teleworking, taking leave from work, or identifying someone who can supervise your child in the event of school building closures or quarantine.

    Students who are out of school for quarantining can participate in distance learning.

    *Plan for transportation:

    • If your child rides a bus, your child must wear a cloth face covering on the bus and talk to your child about the importance of following bus rules and any spaced seating rules. Students of the same family will sit together.  The bus will load from back to front. Changing seats will not be permitted. 
    • If carpooling, plan on every child in the carpool and the driver wearing cloth face coverings for the entire trip. Each school will use grade level cohorts to the extent possible to reduce exposure to other people. Consider finding families within your child’s group/cohort at school to be part of the carpool.

    * If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan or receives other learning support (e.g., tutoring, speech, OT, PT, counseling), ask your school principal or the Director of Special Education, Madeline Illinger, how these services will continue.

    * Consider limiting your child’s in-person out-of-school interactions to children in the same cohort where possible or to activities where physical distancing can be maintained.

    * Reinforce the concept of physical distancing with your child.

    * Plan for increased outdoor opportunities in gym by sending them with a hat, wear shoes conducive to the outdoors, encourage staying a minimum of 6 ft apart.

    Parents who temporarily choose not to send their child to school should contact the school if you have not communicated your decision or want to change your decision at any time.

    We look forward to seeing our students in September and appreciate your partnership as we work together to establish protocols to keep our students and staff safe and healthy.  I will continue to keep you updated on our school opening plans.  For more information visit the district website to view Westbrook’s Reopening School Plan.

     

    Sincerely,

    Patricia Charles

    Interim Superintendent

     

    Covid Info
  • Westbrook Public Schools Re-Opening Plan

    Please find attached the re-opening plan for Westbrook Public Schools.  Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 860-399-6432

    Covid Info
  • Practice Wearing Your Face Mask

    We're looking forward to welcoming our students back to school on September 1st.  Please know that we have been working all summer developing plans to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.
     
    One of the new health protocols that all students and staff members will need to adjust to is the wearing of face masks.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends face coverings to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and the State of Connecticut is requiring the wearing of masks by all students and adults in school as part of our Reopening Plan.  
     
    In order to be more informed on the proper use of face masks and also for tips on helping your child adjust to wearing face masks, please check out the following helpful links from the CDC:
     
    How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings:
     
    Helping Students Wear Face Masks:
     
     Please be assured that our students will get "mask breaks" throughout the day and we will utilize outside spaces as much as possible, where students will be able to social distance and enjoy some fresh air without a facial covering.  Our Reopening Plan recommends mask breaks during outside recess; physical education outside; lunch and water breaks.
     
    One of the best ways to encourage students' appropriate use of facial coverings is for the adults around them to model this. We intend to model the appropriate use of face masks at school and we ask parents/guardians and other adults in the family to do the same with your children when you are in public places.  Please develop the practice of wearing a mask now with your child so it is not as such an adjustment when they get back to school and must wear them for an extended amount of time.
     
    As always, thanks so much for your support during these challenging times.
     
    Patricia Charles, Ed.D
    Interim Superintendent
    Westbrook Public Schools
    860-399-6432
    Covid Info
  • Changes to District Calendar

    Dear Westbrook School Community,

    Last week the State Board of Education passed a resolution offering flexibility to the 180 day school requirement for students to allow teachers additional professional development to prepare for return to school as a result of the coronavirus. Last night the Westbrook Board of Education voted to revise the school calendar to allow for three additional professional development days. Teachers will be engaged in workshops that will help them address new health and safety protocols, adapt to new instructional strategies, and plan for social and emotional considerations in our schools.

    A revised 2020-21 calendar may be found on the district website at https://www.westbrookctschools.org/20202021_school_year_calendar.  The first day for staff is August 24.  The first day for students is September 1.  September 1st and 2nd will be early dismissal days.

    I will continue to keep you informed of the work we are doing to open our schools.  

     

    Sincerely,

    Patricia Charles, Ed.D

    Interim Superintendent

    Westbrook Public Schools

    860-399-6432

    Covid Info
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Superintendent Memo - May 5th, 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff, Parents and Guardians,

Late this morning, the Governor announced the final decision on school closure orders.  All CT K-12 schools will be closed for the rest of this school year.  Specifically, the Governor indicated that he is ordering all in-person classes at all K-12 public school facilities to be closed and that distance learning will be provided for the rest of the 2019-20 school year.  While that news has been announced, there will be more information and guidance on the impact of his decision regarding summer school programming and camps as well as other activities and programs in the coming weeks.  The Governor expects to have further guidance toward the end of May.  At this time, please be assured that distance learning continues and that we will continue to provide grab and go lunches for children up to age 18 years as ordered by the Governor.

The announcement cited as the best course of action for the safety of students, educators and staff was sympathetic toward high school seniors and their families.  Holding out the hope that high school seniors would be able to experience a few final weeks of their senior year including in-person graduation has been upper most in all of our minds including state and local officials.  However, the current circumstances and efforts to protect the safety of all made the decision no longer able to be delayed.  In Westbrook, we have been preparing for such an eventuality.  We have been collecting suggestions from families and seniors will be meeting virtually with their senior class advisor and graduation coordinator to share thoughts and ideas on how to best celebrate their graduation, scheduled for Friday, June 12th.  Finally, as we work to assure the most poignant means to honor our graduating seniors, we will share all of this at our next Board of Education online meeting on May 12th.  Please remember that those meetings are open to the public, log-in information will be posted with the Board's agenda on our website.

Again, please know that we understand that today's reality is difficult for everyone to fathom, but we know that students cannot learn successfully in an unsafe environment and that our faculty, staff and students are safest returning when the virus has been contained.  Until that time, we will all continue to work together as we have been since March 13th to keep engaging our students and presenting them with as much learning potential as we can provide to ensure progress for all toward a safe and successful eventual reopening.  Thank you.

 Update - School Closure - Covid19.pdf 

Letter from Westbrook Health Department - April 24th, 2020

I hope this letter finds you and your family in great health and comfort during this extraordinary time.  The purpose of this message is to bring awareness of responsibility during this COVID-19 pandemic in regards to Westbrook’s young adults, teenagers, and children.  COVID-19 infection persists in our community and remains in community transmission mode in the Connecticut. We all must continue to do our part in preventing further spread.

Read the entire letter from the health department:   4 24 20 Letter to Parents-Legal Guardians DPH.pdf 

Spring Break Announcement - April 3, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians:

It is my sincerest hope that everyone is fairing as well as can be expected in these trying times. Please know that the emotional well-being of our students and families are our highest priority as we continue to live with this serious health crisis. Administrators, teachers and student support personnel as well as office support staff continue to work remotely to assist you and your students.

After much deliberation and in consultation with the State Dept. of Education, the Governor’s requests and the Dept. of Public Health, I want to inform everyone that the upcoming spring break week will remain as a vacation week. As noted on the Board of Education approved 2019 – 20 school calendar, beginning on Friday, April 10th (Good Friday), our distance schooling schedule will stop for the week of April 13th through April 17th.

By the spring vacation week, we will have completed three weeks of intensive distance learning and it is my hope that a reflective break during the April vacation week will help to build upon the enthusiastic momentum we have begun. Your students have made impressive gains and we will benefit from using the break time to improve areas of weakness that we have identified in our new learning platform. Next week, our teachers and support staff will be helping your students to understand their learning expectations and their assignments during the break week.

In the coming days, please stand by for information on how we will continue to provide grab and go lunches for all children (ages 18 and younger) during the break week. For now, as we continue to wait for guidance on the indefinite school closure timeframe, I encourage you to use the coming vacation week (April 13th – April 17th) with your children to look forward to spring and a return to some sense of normalcy.

As we have all been directed, I hope you will take this opportunity to remain at home, to rest and catch up with your own families. With that, I wish you all a
happy spring holiday and a safe and restful April break. I know it is hard to think of this spring as the uplifting hopeful time that we usually look forward to, but maybe the little ones that I stop to see each day will help to cheer you and your families. As always, please contact me or your school administrator with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Patricia A. Ciccone

 Spring Break Week Announcement for Parents and Guardians 4-3-20 1.pdf 

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

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.

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