Update for 12/4/2020
The number of Covid cases in town continues to increase steadily. For residents seeking the numbers, please see the daily data report at ct.gov/coronavirus. Data from yesterday indicates 134 positive cases in Easton. Through the entirety of the spring, we had approximately 30 cases. This is clearly not apples to apples and there is a lot more testing going on. The per 100,000 two week rolling average is a rate of 35.1. This is a two week rolling average and reports with a 5 day lag. There have been 27 new cases in the two weeks ending November 28, 2020.
On a personal note, I understand where skepticism is natural, however, I have been on the medical staff at Bridgeport Hospital for 29 years. We are considering putting patients in cafeterias and auditoriums because of the number of Covid positive and the total number of patients. This has never even been remotely considered in the past. This is unprecedented and unique, but may be necessary. I tell you this only to again underscore the seriousness of this virus.
Attached are a review of guidelines for quarantine for those exposed and those testing positive together with the CDC’s newest recommendations.
Nowhere are the effects of the pandemic been felt more keenly than our school-aged children and their families. The Board of Education and the Superintendent operate somewhat independently from the town, but a lot of the feedback comes to my office. I receive a spectrum of opinions from “Why are the schools not open?” to “Why are we putting our children and families at risk by keeping the schools open?” Again, I cannot emphasize how fortunate we are as a town to have contracted with the Westport/Weston Health District at this time, giving us access to the expertise of a full-time Health Director.
The Health Director has been working with our Central Office throughout the pandemic. You may also know that the Westport schools have been open at times when ours have not. That reflects the fact that conditions vary from town to town and time to time, even within one health district. There is no one number or condition that determines a course of action. I have spoken to Superintendent Harrison and I know that he is absolutely committed to keeping our kids in school as much as possible. I agree with the philosophy of time-limited decisions where changes from full in-person to hybrid to all distant are made with end dates, to be reviewed based on all relevant circumstances.
I support keeping our children safe and providing the best education we can under the circumstance with full recognition that in-school learning is clearly what is best for our children. I am certain that that is the goal of the Superintendent and Board of Education and I urge you to be patient with, and cognizant of, the complexity of their decisions. I empathize with the frustrations of parents who see their kids suffering by not being in school and the inconvenience it causes parents who have to make arrangements for child supervision at home, but I would ask that we all support the extraordinary efforts of our teachers and administrators who are doing the best they can in extremely difficult circumstances.
We can all do our part in making the overall situation better by limiting opportunities for transmission by mask wearing and social distancing. From contact tracing we know that social events have helped increase the number of cases in town.
Many have complained about graffiti on our roads. The Department of Public Works has devoted significant effort this week at removing much of it. They have addressed 19 sites which is a tremendous amount of time and effort. People who have lived here for many more years than my 26, tell me they have never seen anything like this in our town. Given the expense to the town, I can only hope we never see this again, ever.
Earlier this week we had a pretty significant wind/rain storm and got through it with fairly minimal damage. Hopefully, our efforts since August to do tree work have paid off. Please, be safe as severe weather is again predicted for Friday night into Saturday.
Despite all the difficult issues the town has to deal with, it is nice to come to work and see our Town Hall decorated for the holidays. Maple Row Tree Farm again donated a tree that our tireless employees lighted and decorated. The Easton Garden Club decorated the front of the building and the police lobby entrance as well as other town buildings with wreaths and garland.
We are the “Christmas Tree Capital of Connecticut” and driving down Sport Hill Road, the smell of fresh-cut trees is wonderful. Our tree farms are doing an excellent job of safely selling their wares with the help and supervision of the Agricultural Commission. During the last year, much has been done to promote and preserve our farming heritage. I believe as a town that is a big part of what Easton is all about.
There are still opportunities to enjoy the holiday time, even in this pandemic. Many have commented to me how there is some virtue in our now simplified lives. We are blessed to live in such physically beautiful town. Take advantage of the outdoors and the time we have to spend with our immediate families. Visit our farms, but be safe and have a great weekend!
Read the new CDC guidelines for Covid-19 quarantine after exposure here.