Darien schools see steep increase in COVID-19 cases, officials say

DARIEN — There has been a surge of COVID-19 cases in Darien’s elementary schools over the past 10 days, school officials said.

As of Monday, the district has reported 38 cases of COVID-19 and 134 quarantine cases across all five schools. The cases are mostly among students, with a minor number of staff affected, said Darien Superintendent Alan Addley.

Most cases are mild, officials said.

In a release sent home to parents Tuesday, Addley and First Selectman Monica McNally said the majority of the spread is happening outside of school, primarily through family and social events. The increase in COVID-19 cases was not directly tied to the recently-implemented Screen and Stay Initiative, officials said.

Last week, the major concentration of cases were primarily among elementary schools, especially Ox Ridge Elementary School, said Director of Nursing Services Alicia Casucci during a Nov. 9 Board of Education meeting. There was a rash of cases in the fourth grade particularly, she said.

Hindley Elementary School has also been affected, Addley said.

The schools are also evaluating how to reduce the density of students in communal areas to decrease risk of the spread of COVID-19, officials said.

“In response, we’re encouraging the community to engage in good practices,” Addley said. “And in the school, we’re trying to increase space, particularly during lunch.”

All students are still wearing masks, Addley said. He added that vaccinations increase the likelihood that students will not have to quarantine for as long and can remain in school even if exposed.

The second town clinic for pediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 20 at Town Hall.