Lack of custodial staff closes Wilton High for a day

Wilton High School will switch to remote learning on Tuesday, Dec. 8, due to the high number of custodial staff members in quarantine.

Wilton High School will switch to remote learning on Tuesday, Dec. 8, due to the high number of custodial staff members in quarantine.

Jeannette Ross / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — With one-third of its custodial staff in quarantine, Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith announced on Monday that Wilton High School would switch to remote learning for Dec. 8.

Excepted is a small group of high-needs students.

Students will continue to participate remotely on Wednesday, as has been the schedule since the high school opened with a hybrid schedule in September. Smith anticipates the school will reopen to the Thursday cohort of students on Dec. 10.

“Transitioning the high school to remote learning on Tuesday enables us to redeploy custodial staff and keep our other three schools open for in-person instruction,” Smith said in a letter to the school community.

Students in Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill attend four days a week. Middlebrook Middle School students are on a hybrid schedule. All students attend remotely on Wednesday.

Smith said the administration chose to close the high school because “a critical mass of custodians” assigned there are out. In addition, he believes the high school students will be able to adjust to the shift to remote learning more easily than students in lower grades. He also acknowledged families would be less likely to require child care.

A number of custodial staff members are expected to return from quarantine on Wednesday, leading him to believe in-person instruction can resume Thursday. Short-term, temporary help will also be brought on board.

On Monday, Smith said the district learned of five new positive cases of COVID-19: Three at Cider Mill, one at Middlebrook, and one at the high school.

On Friday, Smith announced two members of the high school community tested positive for COVID-19 and on Dec. 2, two new cases at Miller-Driscoll were discovered.

As of Dec. 7, there are seven staff members and seven students confirmed positive and isolating. Five of the staff members are at the high school, one at Middlebrook and one working for the district. Two of the students are at the high school, one at Middlebrook, three at Cider Mill, and one at Miller-Driscoll.

There are 33 staff members and 86 students in quarantine due to close contact. The majority of staff in quarantine, 15, are at the high school. There are two large groups of students in quarantine: 44 at Miller-Driscoll and 27 at the high school. There are 12 at Middlebrook and three at Cider Mill.