No Shelton resident has tested positive for the coronavirus and schools will remain open, according to interim Superintendent Beth Smith, dispelling rumors to the contrary.

Smith, in a regular update on the district’s response to the virus outbreak, said the Health Emergency Planning Committee is in constant contact understanding the almost minute-by-minute changes in the situation and at no time was she informed of a positive test in Shelton. Her goal, she said, is providing facts to residents.

“I want to reiterate that no one in Shelton has had a positive case of COVID-19 and, at the present time, we have made no decision to close Shelton public schools for two weeks,” said Smith, adding that while preparing her regular statement, “it was brought to my attention that there were rumors that school was canceled.”

Smith said she was on a conference call Monday, March 9, evening, with Gov. Ned Lamont and the state emergency preparedness team and, on Tuesday, March 10, she spoke with the Naugatuck Valley Health director.

Each school is holding an assembly or advisory this week to address general information about COVID-19, the coronavirus, general hygiene and self-care.

“Our custodial staff continues to clean our schools daily with disinfectant cleaners,” said Smith. “The bus company has informed us that the bus drivers regularly use a cleaning product to wipe down surfaces touched regularly by students.”

Smith said the Whitson’s lunch employees are following all state and local health department requirements in food preparation and equipment and surface cleaning, including cafeteria tables.

School nurses continue to track student absences, according to Smith, and assessments are ongoing on the “district’s capacity for e-learning, in case we need to close schools for a period of time. This included surveying staff and parents about internet and computer access in the home.

“We are evaluating professional learning, school events and field trips on a case-by-case basis,” added Smith. “When final decisions are made, they will be communicated.”

The following are important reminders for parents:

* Keep your children home if they are sick. Children must be fever free for 24 hours before returning to school.

* Remind your children about appropriate hand washing techniques and about covering during sneezes and coughs.

* Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention frequently for updates (www.cdc.gov)

“We remain committed to maintaining a safe environment for our students and staff,” said Smith.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com