Wilton superintendent: COVID mitigation strategies working in schools

WILTON — Despite an increase in COVID-19 cases in Wilton over the last month, Schools Superintendent Kevin Smith said Tuesday the district’s mitigation strategies are working and has not “committed to any changes.”

As of Wednesday, Wilton Schools have five positive cases so far this week. That comes after an increase in cases over the last month.

Wilton Public Schools saw just six cases of COVID-19 since Oct. 4 until mid-November. That total was matched in the week of Nov. 15 to 19. The next week, Thanksgiving week, there were another seven confirmed cases.

The first week of December, the return week from the long Thanksgiving weekend, the schools reported 15 cases of COVID-19, marking its highest one-week transmission total of the school year and five more than its second-highest week of transmission, which was the schools’ opening week.

“While we’ve had some increased COVID activity recently, our numbers are still comparatively low and we have limited instances of in-school transmission,” Smith explained. “This is an indicator that our mitigation strategies are effective.”

Smith added that the district continues to “encourage all those who are eligible to pursue vaccination.”

To assist vaccination efforts for students ages 5 to 11, Smith said the district has made arrangements with the Department of Public Health and Griffin Health Care to provide mobile vaccination clinics at Cider Mill on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14. Parents can access the registration link published on the district website.

The superintendent’s advice on vaccinations and general transmission comes just after the town has earned its first “red zone” designation, signifying high rates of transmission, in months after numbers jumped to 43 positive cases over a two-week period to the end of November.

Wilton had only five confirmed cases from the week of Nov. 7 to 13, according to the state Department of Public Health. Soon, that number rose to 21 cases for the week of Nov. 14 to 20 and another 22 cases during Thanksgiving week.

Wilton Public Schools currently have 11 students and three staff members self-isolating after being confirmed positive with COVID-19. Of the students, five are from Cider Mill, three are from Miller-Driscoll and three are from Wilton High School.

The schools also have 25 students quarantining after being deemed “in close contact” with someone who was confimed positive for the coronavirus. Fifteen of those students are from Miller-Driscoll, five are from Cider Mill, two are from Wilton High School and one is from Middlebrook Middle School.

Smith also warned that, coming into flu season, the district is encouraging all families to monitor for flu-like symptoms and to keep their child home if feeling sick.

When asked if the current school mitigation measures could be the “new normal” for the next few years, Smith said he couldn’t offer conjecture.

“It’s my hope that as we increase vaccinations and improve pharmaceuticals, we’ll get to a better place in time,” he said.