Encouraging COVID trend continues in Greenwich schools

Photo of Justin Papp
Students gather at Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Conn. Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020.

Students gather at Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Conn. Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020.

File / Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media

GREENWICH — There were just 16 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the past week in the Greenwich Public Schools, the lowest week-over-week increase — with the exception of holiday recess — since the week of Thanksgiving.

The numbers show a positive trend in the school district of the number of coronavirus cases stabilizing.

Superintendent of Schools Toni Jones announced earlier this week that because of lower cases numbers and new state plans to vaccinate teachers and school staff members, Greenwich High School staff and students will return to in-person learning on Wednesdays, which since September had been a remote day for all students. That change will begin on March 17, Jones said.

Since reopening schools in September amid the COVID-19 pandemic, elementary and middle schools in Greenwich have offered full time in-person instruction. At the high school level, two cohorts — Greenwich Cohort and Cardinal Cohort — alternated in-person days, with one cohort in the building on Mondays and Tuesdays and the other on Thursdays and Fridays, with remote learning on the other days. Wednesday was a remote day for the entire school, to allow for proper cleaning in between cohorts.

“We have learned a great deal over the past six months about how to operate in a pandemic environment,” Jones wrote in a letter to students and families.

Under guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “that states that touching surfaces is not the main cause of virus spread, support that we no longer need a full day cleaning break between cohorts, and as such it has been determined that returning to face-to-face learning on Wednesdays is a safe next step for our students and staff,” she said.

The news comes just days after Gov. Ned Lamont announced the state’s new vaccine prioritization plans, which bumped up teachers. Now, teachers and school staff are eligible for vaccination beginning March 1. By May, older teenagers would also be eligible, according to the plan.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the district since the start of school are at 437, according to the district. As of Friday, there were 15 active cases and 422 resolved. Six schools are currently affected. And after a small spike of in-school transmissions in early February, no additional in-school cases were reported in the last week. The district updates its COVID numbers in an online tracker every Tuesday and Friday.

justin.papp@scni.com; @justinjpapp1; 203-842-2586

More Information

Schools affected:

Greenwich High - 7

Central Middle - 2

Cos Cob - 2

Eastern Middle - 2

Glenville - 1

Western Middle - 1