Westport Public Schools to adopt temporary remote learning option for symptomatic, vulnerable students


Graphic by Jake Fitzpatrick ’22

As the COVID-19 test positivity rate in Westport has increased rapidly to 253 new cases from Jan. 2 to Jan. 6, Westport Public Schools has put into place a temporary online learning option for symptomatic and vulnerable students.

Westport Public Schools are planning to include a remote option for students who have symptoms of COVID-19 as of Jan. 28. This decision came along with news from the Connecticut Department of Public that Connecticut’s COVID-19 positivity rate has hit 24.55% as of Jan. 7, a record high from the start of the pandemic due to the new Omicron variant.

Similarly, the COVID-19 rates at Westport Public Schools have also increased, with 253 cases being reported between Jan. 2 and Jan. 6. Nearly half of these cases, about 114, were reported at Staples High School. 

This announcement came in the form of an email sent to Westport families on Wednesday from Superintendent Thomas Scarice.

“With the increase in numbers of students who are in isolation,” Scarice said, “we want all students and staff demonstrating any symptoms to stay home.” 

This option will include students who have COVID-19, come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and students who live with relatives who are immunocompromised.

I’m going to do everything I can to keep kids in the classroom. There’s nothing that compares to a great teacher in a classroom.

— Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont

This decision comes among an announcement from Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont on Tuesday Jan. 4 that he will continue to disincentivize online learning, even as Connecticut’s COVID-19 positivity rate hits record highs by continuing to disallow online schooling from counting towards the total number of necessary school days.

​​”I’m going to do everything I can to keep kids in the classroom,” Lamont said. “There’s nothing that compares to a great teacher in a classroom.”