COVID-19 cases remain low in Greenwich schools, with most reported cases among students

Parkway School in the backcountry of Greenwich, Conn., photographed on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020.

Parkway School in the backcountry of Greenwich, Conn., photographed on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020.

File / Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media

GREENWICH — With preparations underway to soon roll-out COVID-19 vaccines for children between the ages of 5 and 11, the number of new cases reported in the Greenwich Public Schools remains low.

As of Friday, two new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the district, which followed five cases reported on Tuesday and four cases reported last Friday, according to the latest update on the district’s online tracker. A total of 87 cases have been reported since classes began on Sept. 1.

There are currently eight active cases of COVID-19 in the district, impacting eight schools. There are three actives cases at Parkway, two at North Street and one case each at Central Middle, Eastern Middle and New Lebanon, according to the tracker.

Of the eight active cases, six were attributed to family or outside activity and two were of undetermined origin, according to the district. Those cases affect six students, one service provider and one non-teaching staff member.

The vast majority of the 87 cases reported this school year — 71 —were among students. A total of 13 families in the school district have seen multiple cases of COVID-19, with 31 cases reported among those families.

The school district updates its online tracker every Tuesday and Friday morning to alert the GPS community about updates on COVID-19. For the 2020-21 school year, a total of 697 cases of COVID-19 were reported districtwide.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration gave approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech to be administered to children ages 5 to 11. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to grant the same go-ahead next week.

In anticipation of the lowering of the age for COVID-19 vaccines, the state said it was planning to order 150,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children. Clinics and doctors’ office will be preparing to vaccinate the 5- to 11-year-olds.

“In the months of September and October, we had 10 total vaccine clinics at GHS and the three middle schools that were done in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Public Health,” district Director of Communications Jonathan Supranowitz said.

“We have told our families that Greenwich Hospital alerted us they will hold vaccination clinics for children ages 5 to 11 in the month of November at the hospital and other locations across their health system,” Supranowitz said. “The schedule and appointments will be available on their website once the announcement of official approval is made.”

Yale New Haven Health System, of which Greenwich Hospital is a part, also said it will soon release a plan for providing the vaccines to children ages 5 to 11. An official there said Greenwich Hospital will “be ready as soon as they say ‘Go’.”

Dana Marnane, vice president of public relations, said the hospital would work with pediatricians to get the vaccines to children when full approval came.

It would “make a difference to be able to safely vaccinate the children,” Greenwich Hospital President Diane Kelly said Wednesday.

Once more children are vaccinated, “they can have a little bit more confidence as they assimilate themselves back into schools and other functions,” she said. “Having them have the same kind of protection that we all have, I think, is really something to celebrate. And I’m very pleased both as a registered nurse and health care executive and as a mother.”

Statewide as of Oct. 28, Connecticut’s school submission summary of COVID-19 reported 483 cases of COVID-19 among students, teachers and staff in public and private schools during the week of Oct. 21 through Oct. 27.

That is down slightly from the 550 cases reported during the week of Oct. 14 through Oct. 20. The state updates its schools COVID-19 data every Thursday.

Staff Writers Ken Borsuk and Nicholas Rondinone contributed to this story.