Parents voice frustration with Wilton schools’ visitor vaccination rules

WILTON — A new requirement that all visitors to town schools must show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination has frustrated some parents, who call the move “absurd” and “very disappointing.”

Following an announcement in late September that all visitors who wish to enter a district school must show proof of vaccination, three parents offered sentiments during the public comments section of the most recent Board of Education meeting, to various degrees of frustration.

One parent called the safety measure “absurd,” “asinine,” “anti-science” and “arrogant” on the part of the district. She argued she would prefer to provide proof of antibodies and demanded different options and exemptions for district parents.

Another parent voiced opposition to the measure, calling the school board “clearly uneducated” on vaccine efficacy. He also took aim at the school’s mask mandates.

“Our kids spent all summer without mask” he said, and “they continue to not wear a mask when they are out of school.”

He said these mandates are “very disappointing” and wished the school board to allow optional mask wearing.

Another Wilton parent said that she believes students benefit from warm and physical embraces with friends and teachers, and that current restrictions disallow that. She connected this claim to purported rises in child anxiety percentages over the course of the pandemic.

Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith has said the district played with a variety of mitigation strategies since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. Those strategies ranged from extremely restrictive, including full remote learning during the closure of schools and extreme precaution in distancing; to current measures that include full masking whenever indoors, contact tracing, isolation after exposure, avoiding clusters and using outdoor spaces.

Smith has also praised vaccine efficacy as a safety measure that can be taken. High vaccination numbers play into the safety protocols that the district employs to ensure that the students feel safe and that the school day can look as “normal” as possible, he said.

School board member Deborah Lowe said the group would not make any official immediate response to any of the public comments, and would not do so in general unless completely necessary. That response would likely come from the superintendent, according to Lowe.

Smith did not respond to a request for comment about the parent letters. To date, mandatory visitor vaccination measures remain in place for all district school buildings.