Members of social media groups in New Canaan are advocating for people to not have their children tested for COVID-19 virus or to withhold positive test results from the schools, officials said last week.
The parents in the groups want to avoid the district’s protocols about kids needing to stay out of school for a certain number of days after testing positive and wearing a mask for a period of time upon returning, Health & Human Services Commission member Alicia Meyer said during the appointed body’s May 5 meeting.
“There are parents actively advocating for not testing and/or testing but not telling the school,” she said during the meeting, held via videoconference. “So that their kids don’t stay home for the full quarantine and don’t mask upon return.”
The comments came following Health Director Jenn Eielson’s regular update on COVID-19. In it, Eielson said that “cases are clearly on the rise,” adding that “to keep everyone in perceptive,” hospitalizations and COVID-related deaths “are still remaining steady.” She cited a statistic that hospitalizations in the state were up over 2,100 in January and were at 245 as of the governor’s most recent report this month.
In all, 88.58% of New Canaan’s total population has received two doses of vaccine, while 54.24% has received a third dose, Eielson said.
“So we still have a way to go with boosters,” she said.
According to the town’s most recently released information, New Canaan had 151 positive cases for the week that ended May 7. The figure is up from 53 the prior week, and New Canaan’s highest total since 163 in the middle of January, the data show.
The data “really isn’t surprising,” Eielson said.
“After school break, Easter, people are beginning to do things again,” she said.
Meyer appeared to refer to the “Mask Choice New Canaan” group. It was created last June on Facebook and has 216 members there as a private group. An Instagram account by the same name and tag line “Parents advocating for children’s right to be unmasked in school” has 1,480 followers.
Commission Chair Dr. Harrison Pierce said that with the “don’t test, don’t tell” advocacy, the numbers that New Canaan is getting from the district “are not that accurate.”
“Parents, mothers are avoiding the testing,” he said. “They don’t want their kids missing a week of school and/or the athletic or other extra-curricular activities. This has been going on for a while, but the proof is the in the print. C’est la vie.”