Scarice recommends against full reopening of Westport schools


Photo by Finnegan Courtney '23

Following Scarice’s decision, Long Lots Elementary School will be staying in their current model and not going back five days a week.

During the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice announced that he would not be recommending a full reopening of schools at this time, and that the district would be continuing the hybrid model for the foreseeable future due to concerns over an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
“I don’t think bringing kids back fully for four weeks in a pandemic model is really in the best interest right now when we have a model that is working,” he said. “The prudent approach right now is the correct approach to take.”
This recent recommendation came on the heels of other Fairfield County schools, like Weston, returning to full in-person learning. However, this also came with recent COVID-19 upticks in the state that have caused school closures statewide, spawning positive diagnoses in Westport schools.
Some Staples’ students, in light of the pandemic and the recent positive cases, think that taking it safe and steady is the way to go.
“I think that while it may seem conservative, it’s the right thing to do because if we don’t take it slow, an outbreak might happen and it would be unsafe,” Matthew Fleming ’23 said.The prudent approach right now is the correct approach to take.[/pullquote]
Scarice’s cautious approach is influenced by isolated cases found in Westport Public Schools as of late October.
“Earlier today Dr. Debra Dunn, Principal of Long Lots Elementary School, learned of another positive COVID-19 test in the school,” Scarice wrote in an email going out to Westport families.
“The affected individual was already under quarantine at home and will continue to be excluded from the school environment,” the email continued. “Those determined to be “close contacts spent a significant amount of time in the presence of the positive case, and as a result, were informed that they will be excluded from the school environment and recommended to quarantine for 14 days and may return to school on October 30.”
Following the Superintendent’s decision, some students at Staples now have peace of mind that they won’t be at school all five days and that they are staying in the hybrid model for the long run.
“It helps me not be paranoid that I’m gonna COVID the next time I go to school,” Nick Lolis ’24 said. “[I also] get to go to school in a more comfortable environment [at home].”