Officials: Westport schools see significant drop in COVID cases

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The Westport Weston Health District.

The Westport Weston Health District.

Chris Marquette / Hearst Connecticut Media

WESTPORT — There hasn’t been a case of COVID-9 reported at Staples High School since May 2, and only a handful of cases at the elementary school level during that time, according to the district.

The low number of cases came up during Monday’s Board of Education meeting, when Superintendent Thomas Scarice and supervisor of health services Suzanne Levasseur proposed that there be no health update at the final board meeting of the season, which takes place June 14.

“As our school and town cases of COVID-19 are so low and it is the end of the school year, we will likely not need to continue with a health update at BOE meetings during the summer months,” Levasseur said in an email. “As we prepare to reopen in the fall, we will look at current trends and certainly continue this if needed to keep our school community informed and up-to-date.”

In addition to a lack of cases at the high school in more than a month, there have only been four cases at the elementary school level since May 2.

Levasseur added that the district is working on a reopening plan for the 2021-22 school year “which addresses health and safety procedures, continuity of learning and instructional models and schedules.”

This will be available for public comment and submitted to the state by the end of June.

As of June 8, Westport has seen 1,799 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 31 deaths linked to the illness, according to the Westport-Weston Health District.

There are many potential reasons why cases are so low, Westport-Weston Health Director Mark Cooper said.

“(Factors could include) the number of individuals that have been vaccinated and/or have obtained natural immunity because of infection,” he said. “Additionally, the number of infections seem to decease in summer months — they did last year before vaccinations — perhaps due to warmer weather and people getting out of doors more.”

Levasseur said COVID cases in the schools peaked around January and February, around the same time as cases in town overall. According to data from the health district, cases in Westport reached their highest level the week of Jan. 10 to Jan. 17, when they reached about 100.

It has fallen considerably since then, mirroring the statewide trend. Over the two-week period of May 16 to May 29, the town had a 14-day average case rate of zero. As of Tuesday, Westport had a daily positivity rate of 0.33 percent, lower than the already low statewide rate of 0.71 percent.