Saying they hope COVID-19 infection rates continue to go down after a post-holiday peak, district officials last week proposed a series of changes to mitigation strategies that could take effect after winter break. Starting Feb. 28, school cafeterias could return to full capacity during lunch if the COVID trends continue to move in a good direction, while classrooms could have more flexible seating arrangements and New Canaan Public Schools could start hosting in-person school events and meetings again, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said during the Jan. 24 Board of Education meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. While a requirement to wear masks is in place at least through Feb.
New Canaan families that were able to sign up last week for COVID-19 at-home test kits likely will receive instructions in the coming days on a new distribution plan, according to the town’s highest elected official.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan originally had said the town sought to get test kits “into the hands of families prior to the coming holiday weekend to help reduce the current surge in COVID-19 cases by allowing individuals to identify COVID-19 cases quickly and take steps to isolate appropriately to curb further spread of the virus.”
“The State is allocating only enough test kits for a small percentage of the New Canaan population, so the target for these test kits are individuals and families who plan to attend holiday weekend gatherings,” Moynihan said in a town-wide email on Wednesday. “Those planning to remain at home for the weekend should not seek tests in this distribution.”
Yet the following afternoon, Thursday, Moynihan followed up with another email saying that “[b]ecause the test kits did not arrive from California by this morning, as the Governor’s office had expected, the distribution this evening at NCHS has been canceled.”
“New Canaan was to receive only enough test kits for about 500 families and the SignUpGenius app was sold out within minutes yesterday, partly because residents signed up for multiple family members rather than only one sign up per family,” he said in the Dec. 30 email. “Those families that have received time slots for pickup of test kits will be notified by email when a new delivery plan is scheduled, which will likely be next week.”
The emails came within days of an announcement that Gov. Ned Lamont made Monday, that the state would start distributing federally funded at-home rapid tests (and N95 masks) starting Dec. 30 and through this week.
The district is expecting to bring students back for continued in-person learning after Christmas break, though if health data points toward going remote again, New Canaan Public Schools are prepared for that, too, officials said last week. The schools and the students, staff and faculty in them “exist in large ecosystem all around us,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said during the Board of Education’s regular meeting, held Dec. 20 in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “People are watching what decisions are being made around us and getting nervous,” Luizzi continued. “And so we are preparing just in case, but we do not intend to have to go out.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi heard from East School kindergarten teacher Claudia Monaco in April 2020, while quarantining with his mother, Rose, at her home in the days after his father, Lawrence, passed away. Luizzi told members of the Board of Education at their regular meeting Monday that he and his mother were undergoing a 14-day quarantine at that time “because we had been with him in the hospital room prior to his passing.”
“And Claudia reached out and invited me to join her kindergarten class,” Luizzi said during the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “And virtually, because we were virtual, we had all shut down in March. And so I jumped in from my mother’s house, where we were quarantining. My mother had been a preschool director for most of her life and career.
This week on 0684-Radi0, our free podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi about a revised school start times schedule that now is under discussion on the Board of Education.