The parking lots of Darien’s beaches and parks will be closed to vehicular traffic as per as of sundown, Monday, March 30, per a Sunday evening update from First Selectman Jayme Stevenson.

No parking will be allowed on on access roads around our parks and beaches and Darien police will be strictly enforcing these parking laws.

“Our town and surrounding communities are experiencing a surge in positive COVID-19 cases,” she said.

As of 4 p.m. Sunday, there are 40 positive cases in Darien.

“Of the 40 cases, 19 are males and 21 are females. Ages range from 17 to 76. Consistent with statewide data, the greatest concentration of cases are between the ages of 40 and 60. Two of those cases have required hospitalization. While data is important, please remember at these numbers represent our family members, friends and loved ones,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson added that due to the extensive community transmission of the virus occurring in the tri-state area, by order of the President, the Centers for Disease Control has issued a Non-Essential Travel Advisory for Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. This advisory will be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the Federal Government. Only critical infrastructure business travel is exempt from this federal order. More details on the this travel advisory will be forthcoming and posted on the Town of Darien website.

Governor Lamont has not yet ordered all Connecticut residents to quarantine but he strongly encourages everyone to stay home unless we need to attend to our basic needs. Taking walks, bike rides and enjoying other outdoor activities is encouraged as long as social distancing can be strictly observed.

Anyone traveling into Darien from other states, particularly New York, are required to quarantine for 14 days to help protect our community.

“It is critical that we distances ourselves by at least 6’ from non-family members when we need to be out in the community and gatherings of more than 5 non-family members are strictly prohibited by order of the Governor,” Stevenson said.

“We can do this, but we must do this together. We are all responsible for the health and safety of our community. Thank you for doing your part,” she said.

Schools

Last week, the New Canaan Advertiser reported the New Canaan Public School District is gathering information on whether to use a pass/fail grading system for distance learning, according to their Superintendent.

Darien Schools Superintendent Dr. Alan Addley told The Darien Times he is in conversations with area superintendents and is hoping if a decision is made on that, it is a regional one agreed on by neighboring districts.

Decisions such as whether the Darien High School prom, scheduled for May, will still go forward, are still to come, depending on the ever evolving situation, he said.

“That remains to be seen,” he said.

“It’s increasingly looking like it is going to be a longer period of time,” Addley said, with regard to how longs schools will remain closed. Currently Connecticut schools will remain closed with eLearning in place until April 20 as per orders from Gov. Ned Lamont. The Darien Board of Ed recently voted to amend the school calendar to return spring break days to learning days, followed by a long weekend.

“It’s more like a marathon than a sprint,” he said.

As far as eLearning, Addley said he appreciated the efforts by both parents and staff.

“We’re doing out best to learn together during this process,” he said.

In a letter to parents on Sunday afternoon, Addley said going into week three is a good time to reflect on how effectively the schools are implementing eLearning practices and to make any necessary adjustments.

“Upon reflection, we learned we need to move slowly and reflectively through the next few weeks of teaching and eLearning in order not to overwhelm students, parents, or teachers,” he said.

“It is important that we collectively recognize that eLearning is not easy for staff or parents as everyone juggles work and parenting responsibilities,” Addley wrote.

“The longer we are out of school, the more unlikely it is that teachers will not be able to cover and teach the entire grade level curriculum. Adjustments will be made to next year’s curriculum scope and sequence and perhaps subsequent years’ curriculum in order to catch up. Specific adjustments to the scope and sequence will depend on the content being taught,” he said.

The next Board of Education meeting will be April 14.

Closed/businesses

Town Hall remains closed to walk-in traffic. On Wednesday, the Parks & Recreation Department announced that the paddle tennis courts at Weed Beach and the tennis courts and Cherry Lawn and Weed Beach are closed until further notice. All park picnic areas in town are now closed.

Darien’s Public Works department recently canceled the spring bulk pickup program and offers online dump permit services. Read more here.

Related: You’re our hero! Neighbors surprise Darien nurse with messages of support during pandemic

Restaurants continue to be closed to in-restaurant dining. Town Hall recently updated the list of restaurants offering delivery, take out, and curbside pickup. Read it here. Gov. Ned Lamont recently closed all “non-essential” businesses. Read the executive order here. Here’s a full list of essential businesses.

Many of Darien’s small retail businesses have adapted their procedures to accomodate clients amid social distancing policies. Read more here.

Here’s our ongoing list of what is closed and what has been canceled.

GoFundMe campaigns have been established for employees of the Sugar Bowl and Neat. Read more here.

Testing

Testing in Darien continues on Mondays at Darien High School from 1 to 4 p.m. Those being tested need to have an appointment and be referred by a doctor. The town and Murphy Medical Associates are hoping to increase testing at Darien High School pending more supplies. Darien school nurses have volunteered to help. Read more here.

Other locations:

Bridgeport Hospital - Ahlbin Center garage, 226 Mill Hill Ave., Bridgeport, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Lawrence & Memorial Hospital - Parking lot A of the hospital, 365 Montauk Ave., New London, Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., weekend times to be determined.

Yale New Haven Hospital - 150 Sargent Drive, New Haven, Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Greenwich Hospital - located on hospital property in the lower level physician parking lot off of Lake Avenue (hospital address is 5 Perryridge Road). Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

If residents or providers have any questions, please call the Covid-19 Call Center at 203-ASKYNHH.

Plastic bags

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson issued an executive order to relax Darien’s plastic bag ban ordinance during the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday. Palmer’s Market has announced they will not allow to use resuable bags and Stevenson has given them permission to do so. Read more about bags here.

Those in need

Corbin Cares launched last weekend as a combined effort of several Darien non-profits and businesses to donate meals to medical front lines, seniors and food insecure families in Darien. Read more here.

The Community Fund of Darien continues to seek donations for their Touch-a-Life emergency fund — that helps those in critical situations. Some examples provided are a single mother who works as a hairdresser in Stamford that is now closed, a single parent who works for a restaurant that is closed, a cleaning person for a building that is closed, and families with children who rely on the schools for lunches. Darien Human Services is also working with this fund. Donate here. Please indicate if your donation is for Darien Human Services.

The Depot’s Helping Hands Club is seeking financial donations to buy supplies for the Darien Human Services household closet. Read more here.

Darien Human Services is also seeking volunteers to deliver groceries to homebound seniors in cooperation with Palmer’s. This week, Cindy Palmer Dean said the store was in great need of volunteers to shop and/or deliver. Those interested in helping should contact Marcy Rand of Darien Senior Programming at Mrand@darienct.gov. She needs your name, cell number and if you are able to do the grocery picking out as well.

Please call the office at 203-656-7328 or email Ali Ramsteck aramsteck@darienct.gov to discuss your business.

Person-to-Person seeks donations for those in need and seeks volunteers. Virtually volunteer here. Volunteers are Needed at their Locations in Norwalk, Darien, and Stamford Email Juri Garone to get involved. Food and monetary donations are also needed. Find out more here: https://p2phelps.org/donate/

Seniors also have specific shopping hours and resources.If you need meals, reach out to Darien Human Services above. Read more about senior resources here. Some seniors still are finding ways to connect. Read more about that here.

The Darien YMCA is also partnering with Person-to-Person. Read more here.