Ridgefield schools will be remote Christmas week

Superintendent Susie Da Silva

Superintendent Susie Da Silva

Contributted photo / Hearst Connecticut Media

All Ridgefield Public School students will be on remote learning the three days before winter break — Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 21, 22 and 23 — as school officials seek to minimize the number of students and faculty who may need to quarantine over the holiday.

The Ridgefield schools had 139 students and 26 staff members in current quarantines on Thursday, Dec. 10.

A total 1,067 people have been required to quarantine as a result of potential exposures in the Ridgefiled Schools so far this school year.

Four more positive tests for COVID-19 were reported by the Ridgefield schools Thursday, two shortly before and two shortly after Superintendent of Schools Susie Da Silva announced the remote learning plan for the week before vacation.

The four additional COVID-19 cases push the confirmed case count in the Ridgefield Public Schools since the start of the pandemic to a total of 62 known cases.

The four new cases involve two members of Farmingville School community, one member of the East Ridge Middle School community and one member of the Ridgefield High School community.

Contact tracing on the two Farmingville cases was still being done at the time of the announcement.

The East Ridge case resulted in 23 students and five staff members being placed in quarantine.

“This individual was in the ERMS building and potentially infectious to others on Monday, Dec. 7,” Aaron Crook, the schools COVID-19 liaison said in a email to families and faculty.

The member of the Ridgefield High School community who tested positive for COVID-19 did not prompt any new quarantines or contact tracing.

“This individual was not in the RHS building during a period of time when they were potentially infectious to others,” Crook said in an email to school families.

Of the 139 Ridgefield students currently in quarantine, 62 are from East Ridge Middle School, 23 from Farmingville Elementary School and six from Ridgefield High School. Other students in quarantine from previous incidents include 18 from Barlow Mountain Elementary School, 21 from Branchvile Elementary School, six from Ridgebury Elementary School and three from Scotts Ridge Middle School.

The 26 staff members in quarantine include 15 from East Ridge Middle School and four from Farmingville School. There are also seven staff from Barlow Mountain Elementary School in quarantine.

Of the 1,067 students and staff sent into quarantine for potential exposures in the schools, five have later tested positive for COVID-19.

The decision to have remote learning the three days of Christmas week means that Friday, Dec. 18, will be the last day of in-school learning before vacation.

Currently Ridgefield’s six elementary schools are holding in-school classes five days a week, while the two middle schools and the Ridgefield High School are on hybrid learning, with separate cohorts in school on different days.

Superintendent Da Silva described the change to remote learning for the three days before vacation as a decision made with families in mind.

“To the best of our ability, we are making an effort to protect students and faculty from a school required quarantine during the holiday/winter break,” Da Silva’s announcement said.

“This has been a challenging year, and we know that the holiday break is a very important time for all families.

“The impact of a student or staff member having to quarantine over the holiday break could be profound, and we believe it responsible to make an effort to mitigate that possibility for students and staff.”