Wilton First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice shed some light on why Wilton public schools closed abruptly on Wednesday, March 11.

On her Facebook page, she said she had been asked, “Is the school closure in Wilton related to the party in Westport, where 40 people were exposed to a positive Coronavirus patient, nearly half now have symptoms?”

“Yes,” she responded. “Wilton residents attended the party. Fortunately, they acted responsibly and reported their exposure, which allowed us to take action in an effort to contain additional spreading of the virus.”

Annnouncing the closure on March 11, Schools Superintendent Kevin Smith said, “We have been notified that parents of one or more Wilton Public Schools students have had direct contact with a potentially presumptive positive COVID-19 patient.”

Vanderslice stressed the importance of social distancing — maintaining a greater than normal distance between people in order to prevent the spread. Six feet is ideal, three feet is recommended as a minimal distance.

“The Westport party is a good example of spread,” she said on Facebook. “One individual joined up with 39 other people. At the time. no one, including that individual, knew about the virus being present. Those other people then went out into several communities, Wilton, Weston, Westport, New York City and perhaps more, and potentially exposed additional people. It isn’t always easy, but right now it’s the best tool we have as there is no vaccine or drug to do it for us,” she said.

Wilton schools closed just two days after Smith announced they would remain open.

There was speculation schools might close following an announcement Sunday, March 8, that a Wilton man had contracted COVID-19, the first resident in the state to test positive for the virus. The man has infant twin sons and was not suspected of having contact with people in the schools.

At that time, the schools canceled extracurricular activities and other events. However, Smith advised parents that each day was fluid, “and requires the ability to adapt and demonstrate flexibility in this time of uncertainty.”

In addition to Wilton schools, other local venues closed until further notice include Comstock Community Center, Trackside Teen Center, Wilton Library, Wilton Historical Society and Wilton Family Y.

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy closed on Friday, March 13, and is tentatively scheduled to reopen on March 30.

pgay@wiltonbulletin.com