Fairfield town and schools taking steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus

FAIRFIELD — Town residents are being urged to stay away from large gatherings as part of Fairfield’s response to the ongoing coronavirus concern.

So far, nobody has tested positive for COVID-19 in town.

First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick has been providing residents with regular updates and information via emails in light of the public health risk of the virus.

She said while state guidelines define high attendance as 100 people or more, she thinks events with 50 people would still be something to avoid.

“Starting this week, the town will begin the process of canceling and postponing town-offered events that would be considered mass gatherings,” said Kupchick.

The First Selectwoman said she was trying to come up with a plan regarding town boards and commissions. She said she was considering having smaller ones postpone their meetings while larger ones could do them virtually.

“We are looking at ways that would allow people to stay home,” she said.

Kupchick said she had spent much of her time over the past weeks meeting with town department heads, emergency officials and first responders as well as listening in on the conference calls Gov. Ned Lamont hosts on Monday nights. She said they have been discussing how to contain and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Schools Superintendent Mike Cummings, in an email to students family and staff on Tuesday, laid out steps the school system was taking to “delay closures as long as possible.”

The measures included canceling school-wide assemblies, canceling events like Parent Teacher Association meetings, a temporary hold on outside volunteers and mentors visiting schools and canceling the remainder of winter sports.

He said the schools would also continue “aggressive cleaning and disinfectant protocols.”

“These measures were developed in consultation with the Health Department. Similar measures are being implemented in our neighboring communities,” Cummings said, adding that the policy would be in effect at least until April 18.

“These steps are not taken lightly or in isolation. We recognize the inconvenience, expense and concerns these measures raise. These steps are needed in order to keep our community safe,” he said.

Cummings said teachers are continuing to prepare to teach classes online. There will be a system-wide early dismissal on Friday.

The Fairfield Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday morning that it was postponing the 2020 Health and Fitness Expo that was set for Saturday.

Beverly Balaz, the president of the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, said, “As we are all aware, the coronavirus requires conservative and precautionary measures to reduce the potential spread of this virus. We want to follow and support our state and town guidelines, and therefore, we are going to postpone (the event).”

Balaz said the tentative reschedule date for the event was May 9 at Fairfield University’s RecPlex.

“While tensions are high we need to remain calm and focused, and take precautions to limit community transmission,” Kupchick said. “The most important message I want to communicate to all our residents is that if you or members of your family are feeling sick, please stay home and seek professional medical advice by calling your medical provider before going to the office.”