Dear West Hartford Families,

By now, you have received communication from your school’s principal regarding the resumption of school (be it in another form) on this coming Monday, March 23, 2020. I do not know when our physical buildings will reopen to welcome our staff and students again; that decision is with the governor, for now. We will be in session, in some form or another, until mid-June, and the official last day of school will be announced in the coming days. Our “virtual” schools that open Monday will have the same wonderful educators who, I can tell you from numerous google conversations this week, are thrilled to be able to reconnect with you and your children so soon. I believe that the dedication, planning and positive spirit of so many will make the best out of an immensely difficult situation.

I know that this has been a long week for all of us. We are all worried about the health and safety of loved ones, nervous for our friends and family members that have lost their jobs, and fearful of what might be in front of us. To get through this time, I have adopted a today’s problem vs. items to think about tomorrow strategy so that we could focus on what is essential, right now, and get to work. I want to share with you how much has been done in just five days this week because you should know just how many people have worked tirelessly in support of our community. .

We have delivered over 5,000 meals to our children, and the numbers have risen at each of our Grab and Go sites as the week has gone on. We have loaned out over 1300 chrome books over the past two days to families so that they have the essential tools for this new style of learning. Finally, yesterday and today over 1000 staff members have gone through intensive professional development on distance learning, and are ready to go on Monday morning to do all that we can to meet the needs of your children.

I am more proud tonight to be the superintendent of West Hartford Public Schools than I ever have been. There are simply too many people to thank who have gone above and beyond over the past ten days, but I would be remiss if I did not share a few, for they are often unsung heroes. Thank you to our custodial staff for cleaning, disinfecting and scrubbing our buildings thoroughly. Thank you to our IT staff, who broke town computer carts, and prepared thousands of devices to go out to our kids. Thanks to our nutrition services staff, and many volunteers, who ensured our children would be fed. Thanks to our nurses, who took care of so many as they always do, and tracked down question after question to ensure our health. Now, I hope that we can help you to return to just a bit of normalcy, or at least our new normal.

My executive team, our principals and administrators, and our teachers and staff are ready. We know that as we get things up and running, they will not always go perfectly. With that said, our platform, and our plan, will be followed by districts across our state and our country as they hear about it.  In a time of despair, I hope that the West Hartford Public Schools can provide some hope to our community, as an example of what can happen when we pull together. Thank you for your trust, your patience, and your continued partnership. We are all in this together.

Be Well,

Tom

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor announced that the Town received notice today from the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District (the “Health District”) of the first confirmed case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (”COVID-19”) in West Hartford.
 
“We knew it was only a matter of time before there was a confirmed case in West Hartford, given that community spread has already been established in our region,” said Mayor Cantor. “West Hartford is well prepared to deal with the influx of new cases, which is inevitable. We must assume that there are other cases already in our community at this time, and that the number will go up significantly. I am calling on all West Hartford residents to heed instructions by public health officials to ‘flatten the curve’ and slow the spread of the disease.”
 
Aimee Krauss, Acting Director of the Health District, said that the resident is between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. The Health District cannot disclose the identity or location of the resident due to privacy rules.
 
The resident will remain in isolation and the Health District will regularly monitor her health and perform contact tracing, in compliance with guidelines issued by the state Department of Public Health. Anyone who has had close contact with the resident will be told to self-quarantine.
 
“If you have any symptoms of illness, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, you should not leave home except to receive medical care,” said Krauss. “Stay in touch with your healthcare provider. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency.”
 
There is currently no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, and so the best way for individuals to protect themselves is to avoid being exposed. This means washing hands frequently, avoiding close contact with other people (within about 6 feet), and not leaving home unless absolutely necessary.
 
Town officials have been coordinating for months with the State of Connecticut and the Health District to ensure that a structure is in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. 
 
Residents can also get more information at the Town’s website, www.westhartfordct.gov/covid19. 

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