Wilton schools sees uptick in absences amid flu season, COVID

Wilton High School's attendance rate dipped to 90 percent in the week ending on Dec. 9.

Wilton High School's attendance rate dipped to 90 percent in the week ending on Dec. 9.

Hearst File Photo

WILTON — The school district has noticed a lower than usual attendance rate as the number of cases for influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID-19 climb across the county and state.

Wilton Schools Superintendent Kevin Smith said the district is "trending a bit lower than our typical average" attendance rate of roughly 96 to 97 percent. Last week, average attendance rates hovered around 92 to 93 percent in the two elementary schools and Middlebrook Middle School.

Smith said the attendance rate was closer to 90 percent at the high school

"We are well aware of the trends in illnesses being experienced by students and staff members across the state," Smith said. "Our nursing staff and medical advisor pay close attention." 

Fairfield County led all counties in Connecticut with 1,031 cases of influenza from Dec. 4 to Dec. 10, according to the CT Department of Public Health. DPH reported 2,946 cases in the state in the same week, with 13 hospitalizations and one death.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show Connecticut's RSV positive tests hit a two-year peak in mid-November at 301 confirmed PCR tests in a week, but the latest numbers are still hovering at 222 cases in the week ending on Dec. 3.

There were also 19 confirmed positive COVID cases in Wilton from Dec. 3 to Dec. 10, according to DPH numbers.

Smith said he doesn't see a need to change the district's approach at this time.

"The advice really hasn't changed all year," he said. "We encourage people to stay home if they are sick, get tested if they believe they have COVID symptoms and practice proper respiratory etiquette while in school."

Smith said there would need to be a dramatic change for the district to change its guidance.

"I think most folks are well aware of the presence of flu, COVID and RSV," he said. "We continue to watch our trends carefully and if things change dramatically we'll send more information and reminders to families."