The Connecticut State Department of Education together with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and other healthcare providers, is hosting a Virtual House Call Meeting from 5 to 6 p.m., Monday, Aug. 23, to answer families’ questions about what to expect and how to prepare for a safe and successful return to school. Parents interested in participating may register via this link. If you register, you will receive notification when the recording of this event is available.
The town government won’t impose indoor mask mandates for businesses and other places in town (although they’re already required in Town Hall), First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said in part of her CodeRED update to residents late Thursday afternoon about COVID-19 rules in Darien. Anyone who is immunocompromised and had the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can get booster shots now, the first selectman said. “You must be at least 8 months from receipt of the last shot in your initial vaccine series. Boosters for the general public are anticipated to be available by the end of September. Plans for offering local booster clinics is underway.”
The lives of thousands of daily passengers on Metro-North are being jeopardized by the railroad’s refusal to enforce federal and state safety rules requiring face masks, according to the Connecticut Commuter Action Group and the Connecticut Commuter Rail Council in a joint announcement. Here’s most of the news release from the two groups:
Writing to Governor Lamont, the leaders of the independent CT Commuter Action Group and state-created CT Commuter Rail Council appealed to the Governor to safeguard passenger safety by having authorities issue citations to those refusing to wear masks. “Metro-North says it wants passengers to come back to the trains but their refusal to issue a single ticket to mask scofflaws says the opposite,” said Jim Cameron of the CT Commuter Action Group. [Cameron is a Darien resident.]
“Metro North clearly needs to do a better job with mask enforcement if they wish to motivate and convince riders that rail transportation is safe to use. The Commuter Council continues to make that request however nothing seems to change.” noted Jim Gildea, chairman of the state-created CT Commuter Council. Both advocates called on the Connecticut Department of Transportation to require Metro-North, the state’s vendor, to enforce the masking rules. To date, not a single citation has been issued to offenders by MTA Police, despite the rise in cases of the COVID Delta Variant.
The Board of Education, at its meeting Tuesday night, will discuss a proposed plan for COVID-19 regulations in Darien schools when they reopen for the upcoming school year, and members of the public can tell the board what they think about the plan. In a message to parents on Friday, Schools Superintendent Alan Addley described highlights of the district’s plan, called the “Safe Return Plan” or “SRP.” The plan follows mandates and guidelines already sent out by the state government, along with recommendations from the federal government, Addley said. Those mandates and guidelines often change, he said, especially now in response to the Delta variant. “Preparations are well underway to welcome all of our students back to school in the fall,” the superintendent said. Remote learning will only take place with students in quarantine, he said.
In the spirit of encouraging the entire community to stay safe, the Avon Theatre in Stamford is offering a limited special offer to anyone getting a COVID-19 vaccine in August or who already has been vaccinated in the month of August. — an announcement from Avon Theater in Stamford
Anyone stepping up to get a Covid-19 shot between August 1 and August 31 will be eligible for these perks:
Moviegoers presenting proof of August vaccination at the Avon Box Office will receive a FREE MEMBERSHIP for one person (Individual/Student/Senior) for one year. Current Avon Members who present proof of an August vaccine will receive a FREE MEDIUM POPCORN with each movie ticket they purchase throughout the month of August. The benefits of Avon membership include discounts on movie tickets all year, one free movie admission ticket upon joining, as well as invitations to members-only screenings. To take advantage of this special offer, please visit the box office.
As of Thursday there were 53 Covid patients in the Yale New Haven Health System’s five hospitals. That is five times the number there were two weeks ago. Of those, 10 patients are in the ICU. Five are on ventilators. Two weeks ago there was one patient in the ICU and none were on ventilators.
Planning an early getaway on Friday, May 28 for the long weekend? Metro-North will operate a regular weekday schedule on Friday, but we are increasing capacity by adding train cars — so your weekend starts when you want it to. — an announcement from Metro-North
If you’re returning on Monday, May 31, we are running regular weekend service that day (not that anyone wants to think about the weekend ending yet). Wondering when to go and return? Check the schedule.
Darien’s regular vaccine clinic is closing on June 3. If you’re vaccinated, you don’t need a mask when you’re in Town Hall. Town boards and commissions will shift to in-person meetings in June. First Selectman Jayme Stevenson made these points — each of them reflecting a pandemic threat that’s shrunk in this town — in her regular Code Red message Thursday night. As if to underline the theme, she said this will be her last regular update.
Students must wear masks in school buildings for the rest of the school year, as state and federal guidelines state, Darien Superintendent of Schools Alan Addley told parents and staff in an email late Friday afternoon. But students and staff are allowed to go maskless outside on school grounds, he said. Addley wrote (boldface in original): “[E]ffective immediately, masks are no longer required for staff and students while outdoors or on school grounds. Masks will still be required to be worn on buses. For all other events taking place outdoors and on school property, masks are no longer required, regardless of vaccination status.” Addley made clear that the school district is following “updated guidance” from the CDC, state Department of Public Health and state Department of Education on the in-door rule.
Two thirds of Darien residents eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines have received at least one dose, and the town positivity rate for the coronavirus is 0.019%, First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said in her regular pandemic update message on Thursday. In a separate Darien COVID-19 update, this one for families of students, school district Nursing Director Alicia Casucci had an important tip for parents taking their children to the Lord & Taylor vaccine site: You only need to register once, even if the people at the vaccine site tell you otherwise. Here are the full texts of the two messages:
First Selectman’s Update
(From a 5:56 p.m. email)
Good evening. This is First Selectman Jayme Stevenson with a COVID-19 update for Thursday, May 20. Another very positive week for our town.
Is it safe to get back on the train to New York? Casey (not her real name) thought so when, a couple of weekends back, she wanted to see some millennial friends in Manhattan for brunch. But boarding the Saturday morning train she immediately started to worry and texted me. The train was jammed, she said. Very few empty seats.
No new COVID-19 cases have been found in tests of any students, teachers or other staff in the Darien school district, Superintendent Alan Addley reported to parents on Friday — but masks will still need to be worn in schools, he said. State education and public health officials continue to mandate masks in schools, and Darien must follow their directives, Addley said in his regular email to parents and staff. First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, in her regular COVID-19 Code Red message to the town, also noted the continued state mandate on masks for schools and also for municipal offices. She also said that on May 19 the state was dropping any requirements for masking outdoors and mandates that businesses must require masks indoors. “Masks must still be worn on public transportation, in doctor’s offices hospitals and nursing homes,” she said.
Updated, 6:45 a.m., Wednesday:
Same-day registrations for COVID-19 vaccines and walk-in vaccination visits are unlikely because of the expected new demand for shots, now that children ages 12 to 15 are eligible for them, a health official has told Darien parents. But in her email to Darien school district parents late Tuesday night, Darien schools Nursing Director Alicia Cassucci also offered links to Web pages where parents can register for nearby vaccination sites. “We will continue to send more information about clinics as we hear about vaccine clinics in our area,” Cassucci wrote in the email received by Darienite.com at 9:59 p.m., Tuesday. Full Text of Cassucci’s Message
Good evening Darien Families,
We have just received more information and links for the Community Health Center Pfizer COVID vaccine clinics being held at the Lord & Taylor Vaccine Site in Stamford. The registration links are below. Given the anticipated demand at the opening of this age group it is unlikely there will be same day registrations or walk-in appointments available.
The Swap Shop at the Darien Transfer Station and Recycling Center is opening Monday for the first time since the pandemic closed it, town officials have announced, and they’ve explained why the shop won’t be open on Saturdays yet. The town Department of Public Works announced that the Swap Shop will now be open Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
DPW Director Edward Gentile said in an email Thursday that “the additional hours and days could be expanded further to include more hours and even Saturdays once we are back open and running during the week,” he said in an email Thursday. “The crowds have been larger and volunteers fewer. […] We are always looking for volunteers.” He said the idea for keeping the Swap Shop closed on Saturdays came from Craig Flaherty, chairman of the town Advisory Committee on Sustainability. Flaherty returned a phone call asking for comment late on Friday.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, in her latest pandemic update Thursday, reported COVID-19 was found in only two-thirds of a percent of all COVID-19 tests of town residents over the past two-weeks. And there wasn’t a single case in the past week. She was careful in describing how good the shrinkage in the coronavirus is, saying she’s “very pleased and cautiously optimistic” about the low numbers. Stevenson also provided a list of vaccine providers. Her full message is attached, along with the town Health Department’s weekly report.