Post-winter break COVID-19 cases increase within state and school district

Following+the+holiday+break%2C+cases+have+been+surprisingly+average+in+the+state+as+a+whole.+In+Westport+and+Staples+however%2C+it+seems+that+cases+are+starting+to+rise+as+a+result+of+travel+or+holiday+celebrations.++

Graphic courtesy of Connecticut's coronavirus portal tracker

Following the holiday break, cases have been surprisingly average in the state as a whole. In Westport and Staples however, it seems that cases are starting to rise as a result of travel or holiday celebrations.

Samantha Felner '22, Features Editor

As of Monday Jan. 11, the number of COVID-19 cases are spiking in Connecticut with a positivity rate of 8.46%, compared to last week’s 6.3%. With 213,358 cases in the state, and over 25 just in our school district, it is clear that we are now facing the consequences of holiday celebrations and travel.

On Jan. 7, Westport families received an email sent out by Superintendent Thomas Scarice about the sudden rise in positive cases in the school system.  

“As of the time I am writing to you this evening we have 13 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 that came in yesterday and today,” Scarice said.

Following this email, three more came on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday, declaring a total of 19 more cases in the district, 12 more in Staples alone.

“I’m kind of nervous because a solid amount of the student body went on vacation to places outside the U.S. and in states where cases are gradually rising,” Scarlett Siegel ’23 said. “For someone who had been isolating themselves during the break, that could all have been for nothing if a student carrying COVID-19 comes back to school.”

After Thanksgiving break, there was a definite rise in cases in the Westport community and Connecticut. In response, Governor Lamont warned citizens that there is likely to be another spike in positive cases if large holiday gatherings and traveling occur. 

These December predictions have definitely proven accurate. 

I’m kind of nervous because a solid amount of the student body went on vacation to places outside the U.S. and in states where cases are gradually rising.”

— Scarlett Siegel '23

Over the past week, there has been an average of 2,268 cases per day, an increase of 59% from the average two weeks earlier,” the New York Times said early this week in their Connecticut Coronavirus Map and Case Count.

In addition, many Staples’ students are worried about coming back into school, especially after break, and are thinking of staying home until things calm down a bit. 

“Because of the quick rise in cases after break, I am going to stay online until my family and I decide that it is safe for me to go back in,” Gabriel Chinitz ’22 said. “With a lot of people having travelled over break, I think this is my best bet to stay safe.”