Schools will remain closed and continue “distance learning” through the end of the academic year in June, and Ridgefield now counts 36 deaths from COVID-19 while 166 cases of the disease have been confirmed in town since the pandemic started.

The decision to keep schools closed was announced by Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday, May 5, and town officials said they are organizing a “short-term recovery team” that will engage members of the community in deciding how to safely reopen Ridgefield.

Both decisions are discussed in the Tuesday, May 5, update from the town Office of Emergency Management.

The town’s news release follows:

RIDGEFIELD, CT: May 5, 2020:

Health Director Ed Briggs reports that the number of cumulative positive COVID-19 tests is at 166. Sadly, the number of deaths is now at 36, with all but three associated with two care facilities.

Mr. Briggs also reports that with the focus now transitioning to contact tracing and follow up, the health department will move away from the focus on daily numbers.

  Governor Ned Lamont today announced that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he is ordering in-person classes at all K-12 public school facilities in Connecticut to remain canceled for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year and continue providing distance learning during this period.

Schools will also be required to continue providing meals to children under the school lunch and breakfast programs for consumption at home, as they have been throughout this emergency.

The governor is currently recommending virtual graduations, however, plans to make a final determination will be at a later date.

Governor Lamont is consulting with state and local education officials regarding whether summer school programming should commence as scheduled. He anticipates having guidance on that matter toward the end of this month.

  The Governor has also announced that camps can open as of June 29 with specific guidelines that will be announced on May 15.

  First Selectman Rudy Marconi announced today that he and Selectman Bob Hebert will lead a short-term recovery team that will include a representation of the community. The purpose of this team is to provide precise, considerate and safe best practices for re-opening our town.

More details will be provided shortly. This differs from long-term recovery programs in that it is an immediate response to the governor’s re-opening plan and will provide time-sensitive guidelines that take into consideration the best interest of the community.

  Residents are asked to continue their social distancing, wearing of face coverings and washing of hands, and not to relax their efforts. Other recommendations include limiting grocery store visits to once per week and avoiding all crowds.

Stay home, stay safe, stay healthy.