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COVID Cases Pop Up As Connecticut Schools Reopen

Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public

Three Connecticut schools have been temporarily closed and staff members in several others have been sent home to quarantine following positive tests for the new coronavirus just days into the start of a new academic year.

Naugatuck High School students were sent home Wednesday morning after it was confirmed that a 12th-grade student who was in that school Tuesday is infected.

The school, which opened Sept. 2, is expected to remain closed for between 2-5 days, with all extra-curricular activities postponed, the school said in a statement. Health officials are conducting contact tracing to determine what other members of the community might be at risk.

The Valley Regional High School in Deep River, which opened Sept. 1, was closed Tuesday and Wednesday after two students were diagnosed with COVID-19, according to Regional School District 4 Superintendent Brian White.

The school continued classes online while staff worked to clean the building.

Families of children in the Somers Elementary School, which opened Tuesday, received similar news after a staff member in a pre-kindergarten class there reported a positive test.

That school, which is about 60 miles (96 kilometers) north of Deep River in Eastern Connecticut, announced it will be closed to in-person learning through Thursday for cleaning.

“I apologize for the late notice and the impact on families and students,” Somers Superintendent Brian Czapla wrote in a letter to the community. “The health and well being of our students, staff and families continues to be our first priority.”

Schools remained open in other communities, including Waterbury, Glastonbury, Plainville, Newington, Washington, Cornwall and Coventry despite positive tests for the virus.

Affected members of those school communities have been ordered into quarantine for two weeks.

The two Waterbury teachers also will require clearance from a doctor before returning to their classrooms, a school spokeswoman said.

The decision on whether to close schools is made at the local level, though the state Department of Education has set some guidelines.

The state considers an average of fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 people in a county to be a low transmission risk. Between 10 to 25 cases per 100,000 is considered a moderate risk. Any more than that is considered a high transmission risk and remote learning would then be recommended, the state Department of Education said.

At least two school districts, New Haven and Danbury, opted to open the school year offering only distance learning, because of COVID-19 concerns.

Copyright 2020 Connecticut Public Radio

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