March 8, 2020
Dear TSS Families,

Because there were confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Connecticut over the weekend, we anticipate more information and guidelines from the Connecticut and Fairfield Health Departments in the coming days. Yesterday, Fairfield Public Schools sent a communication that they will continue to operate, but would likely close individual schools for 14 days if they become aware of any confirmed cases of students, faculty, or staff in a building. As is the case now, we will continue to monitor and review the guidelines and suggestions from the various health departments and the CDC, along with keeping in regular contact with Fairfield and other area schools. As new information becomes available, we will share it as quickly as possible.

While there is no immediate reason to anticipate a closure, this email intends to update you with new information since our last email (March 5). Just like our student instruction, we will continue to follow the science, heed recommendations on best-practice, and take a measured but flexible approach. An important objective at this time is to remain open and operating. Still, we are monitoring the situation actively so that we are in the position to make sound decisions that are in the best interest of the health, safety, and needs of our entire community. 

We are continuing to be vigilant in working to reduce the spread of germs. This week, we are implementing additional measures in various parts of school (e.g., closing the salad bar and offering individual salads, increasing available cleaning supplies and sanitizers around the school, etc.). One of the most effective approaches to reducing the spread of germs, however, is hand washing for a minimum of 20-seconds ( click here for Fairfield Health Department Proper Hand Washing instruction video). We've discussed this with the students, and even had some fun with it on Friday morning. Please reinforce the importance of regular hand-washing with your kids, as we will continue to remind them at school, too.

On Friday afternoon, our faculty spent in-service working to develop materials and resources if we do need to close. If that happens, our focus will be to provide assignments, activities, and support through Google Classroom, which will afford students opportunities to work independently, review previously learned material, and maintain the skills they have worked hard to develop this year. There is also a possibility that a longer-term closure could occur, in which case we will communicate plans for those circumstances should they occur. We are fortunate to benefit from close relationships with a number of similar LD schools across the country, and we've been speaking with them over the last several days to understand each school's plans, share resources, and learn from one another. 

In the absence of an emergency declaration by the State of Connecticut, we will make a decision to close based on all available information and resources from the town Health Department and appropriate government agencies, including the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Here are links to information on the following websites to keep yourself informed: 

Effective immediately, we will also be implementing a voluntary self-quarantine for any community member who has traveled to a Level 3 country or area identified by the CDC. TSS is requesting that anyone who has traveled to a Level 3 country voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days upon return to the United States. In addition, we are:

  • Requesting that all individuals traveling out of the country regularly check the CDC and State Department websites (before traveling and before returning); 
  • Requiring people to self-report to the school if traveling to Level 3 areas; and
  • Require individuals who have recently visited a Level 3 area to remain at home for 14 days to confirm that no signs of the virus are present. This includes anyone traveling to a Level 3 area over spring break. 

As some families will travel during the next several weeks, we are asking that families who are traveling out of town self-report to their advisor about the areas they plan to visit. Anyone that visits a Level 3 country, whether designated before or during travel, will be permitted back onto school grounds after a 14-day self-quarantine. We will continue to request that any member of our community who becomes ill should immediately contact the Nurse's Office. We ask parents to contact their child's advisor. If you need to make a report after-hours, please contact Dr. Hallie Buckingham on her cell phone at 203-843-6232.

In addition, we will ask all visitors to campus disclose any recent travel o a Level 2 or 3 area (as defined by the CDC) prior to visiting campus. Anyone who has traveled to a Level 2 or 3 area recently will be asked to reschedule their appointment after a 14-day waiting period or to hold the meeting remotely. 

The last two weeks have created a lot of stress and uncertainty. While it impacts all of us, we are well-positioned as a community to proactively and sensibly consider and prepare for different circumstances. There are more areas we will need to consider in the coming days, and other questions to ponder. Tomorrow will likely bring more information, and we will plan to send an update as more information becomes available. In the meantime, if you have a specific concern you would like to discuss about your child, please contact their advisor. As sent in our first email, relevant links below.
Ben Powers