Fairfield to halt contact tracing at school for coronavirus

FAIRFIELD, CT – Fairfield is pausing school contact tracing for the coronavirus, the district announced over the weekend.

The school system made the decision to halt contact tracing after the state health department released optional coronavirus policy changes, which Fairfield Public Schools are adopting.

“We will continue to strictly enforce the mitigations that have worked so well for us thus far, including masking and social distancing,” Superintendent Mike Cummings said in a message Saturday.

The district will continue to notify families of positive cases daily, according to Cummings. Fully vaccinated students and staff without coronavirus symptoms are free to learn in person, even if exposed to the virus, although those who are exposed must test for COVID-19, according to new state policy.

Anyone who is symptomatic or unvaccinated and exposed to the coronavirus should stay home and take a COVID-19 test, as per policy. The district will accept PCR, antigen and home testing, Cummings said. People who test positive should self-isolate for at least five days, as should those who are unvaccinated and exposed to the virus.

The state will provide the district with rapid tests for home use, according to Cummings, who said test distribution information will be available when the tests are received.

“Vaccination remains our most important strategy for keeping children in school by mitigating the spread and limiting the severity of symptoms,” Cummings said in the post.

About 74% of 12- to 17-year-olds in Fairfield are fully vaccinated, according to state data, while only 35% of 5- to 11-year-olds are fully vaccinated in the city.

Fairfield students are scheduled to return to school on Tuesday, following a week in which Connecticut repeatedly broke its previous daily virus positivity rate records. The city of Fairfield alone recorded 783 new cases between Dec. 23 and 30, according to preliminary state data.

Fairfield Schools last reported coronavirus data on Dec. 23, when 111 students and 17 staff had the virus, and 355 students and four staff were in quarantine.

For more information on the state’s new coronavirus policy in schools, visit bit.ly/3sSjwn2.

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