Darien's Royle school goes full remote due to COVID staff shortages

Schools Superintendent Alan Addley and Principal Garan Mulin earlier this year as Royle School prepared to reopen. The school is going full remote on Friday, Dec. 11.

Schools Superintendent Alan Addley and Principal Garan Mulin earlier this year as Royle School prepared to reopen. The school is going full remote on Friday, Dec. 11.

Susan Shultz /Hearst Connecticut Media /

DARIEN — Royle Elementary School was switched to full remote on Friday due to staff shortages, the school district reported. Royle is the second school this semester to close due to staffing impacts of COVID-19. Last month, Middlesex Middle School went full remote due to staffing shortages. So far, the closure is just for Friday, Dec. 11.

In her Thursday Code Red message, First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said Darien is monitoring the availability of vaccines. She said Darien will provide information for those eligible in Phase 1A — health care workers, nursing home residents and medical first responders as soon as that information becomes available.

“Hospitals may begin to receive vaccine as soon as next week,” Stevenson said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration could authorize Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for distribution as soon as this week.

The first deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine could arrive in Connecticut on Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont has said, depending on the timing of the FDA’s emergency use authorization. More shipments of a vaccine developed by Moderna may soon follow.

According to the Darien Schools’ COVID-19 dashboard, there are 10 active cases among school community members with 109 in quarantine and eight schools impacted.

Other school districts have opted to go full remote due to an increase in cases. Some schools in Norwalk have recently gone full remote due to increased cases. Stamford teachers have also pleaded with their administration to go full remote.

Superintendent Alan Addley said Darien has opted not to switch in-person learning for elementary and hybrid for middle and high school, but said the district is monitoring the data daily.

Darien is also seeking substitute teachers to help with staffing shortages due to illness, quarantining or other reasons. At a Board of Education meeting earlier this year, Addley said in some cases upper-level school administration are filling in teaching classes due to staffing outages.

As of Thursday, Stevenson said 517 Darien residents have tested positive for the virus since March from a total of 380 households.

There have been 59 cases reported over the past two weeks and Darien’s positivity rate during that period stands at 3.4 percent.

The state’s health department shows Darien’s 14-day rolling average as 33.5 daily cases per 100,000 residents. There are now only five towns in the state not considered a “red alert” zone.

“Within household and small gatherings are the predominant forums for transmission,” Stevenson said.

For comparison, Stevenson said Darien had 193 cases reported in March and April combined and 737 tests were performed on Darien residents in that same time period. During November and December,there have been 218 cases so far reported with more than 6,800 tests performed.

TESTING LOCATIONS

Everpoint Health, Leroy West parking lot, Darien

203-987-5796

Drive-thru, all patients, appointment needed, no referral needed

DOCS Urgent Care, 677 Connecticut Ave., Norwalk

203-874-3682

All patients. No appointment or referral

CVS, High Ridge Stamford

203-541-3972

Drive-thru, some patients, appointment needed, referral not needed

Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk

203-852-2000

Drive-thru, all patients, appointment and referral required

Walgreens, 54 West Ave., Norwalk

203-925-4733

Drive-thru, all patients, appointment required, referral not required

Community Health, Center of Stamford at Fifth Street, Stamford

203-323-969

All patients, appointment or referral not required

AFC Urgent Care Stamford

203-969-2000

All patients, appointment or referral not required

Community Health Center of Norwalk, Norwalk

203-854-9292

All patients, appointment or referral not required

Physician One Urgent Care, Norwalk

203-856-0005

All patients, appointment or referral not required

Stamford Hospital, Bennett Medical Center, Stamford

203-276-1000

Drive-thru, all patients, appointment and referral required

Testing resources

Darienct.gov

211ct.org

portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus

Stevenson said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports common COVID-19 symptoms as loss of taste and/or smell, sore throat, shortness of breath, dry cough, fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and congestion.

“If you have any of these symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, we recommend you get tested,” she said.