Westport schools close over coronavirus concerns

Westport Public School (WPS) will close indefinitely amid concerns of exposure to COVID-19, according to an email sent out to WPS parents and teachers by Superintendent Dr. David Abbey on March 11.

“We have just learned that a number of Westport parents and Westport Public School students […] were in contact with an individual presumed to be positive with the coronavirus,” Abbey wrote. 

Kylie Race ’21 agrees with Abbey’s decision to close schools before a Westport outbreak.

“[T]he school made a good call with closing preemptively before the virus gets out of hand,” she said. 

The closing came one day after the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference canceled all remaining winter sports games and Governor Ned Lamont declared a state of emergency over the virus. Staples Players’ performance of “Seussical” was also postponed.

As of March 11, the US has over 1000 confirmed cases, with 30 deaths, per NBC News. Three of those cases are in Connecticut.

[T]he school made a good call with closing preemptively before the virus gets out of hand

— Kylie Race '21

“We will immediately begin deep cleaning our schools and in conjunction with the Westport Weston Health District will be consulting with state and federal officials,” the email states.

Wilton, Bethlehem and Woodbury schools also closed this week over fears that students had contact with coronavirus.

As schools around the state take steps to address health and safety concerns, the question of how students will maintain and progress learning over a possibly prolonged break remains. Zander Toglia ’21 believes that online learning won’t meet traditional pedagogical standards.

“[Learning outside the classroom won’t be] as effective as regular classes but the school has to do something to continue learning, and that’s the best solution,” he said.

Some Staples students plan to continue to be productive during their time off from school.

“I’m going to try to wake up around the same time,” Saylor Frankel ’22 said. “[T]hen during the normal school day times do some homework that I’m assigned and try to stay motivated.”

March 11: A previous version of this article misspelled “Woodbury.” This has since been remedied.