Fairfield to stop school contact tracing for coronavirus

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

The school system made the decision to stop contact tracing after the state’s health department released optional changes to the coronavirus policy, which Fairfield public schools are in the process of adopting.

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

The district will continue to inform families of positive cases daily, according to Cummings. Fully vaccinated students and staff with no symptoms of coronavirus are free to learn in person, even if they are exposed to the virus, although those exposed must test for COVID-19, according to new state policy.

According to the policy, anyone who is symptomatic or unvaccinated and exposed to the coronavirus must stay home and take a COVID-19 test. The district will accept PCR, antigen and at-home testing, Cummings said. People who test positive should self-isolate for at least five days, as well as those who are not vaccinated and exposed to the virus.

The state will provide the district with rapid tests to use at home, according to Cummings, who said information on the distribution of the tests would be available when the tests were received.

“Vaccination remains our most important strategy to keep 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 immunized, according to state data, while only 35% of 5 to 11 year olds are fully immunized in town.

Fairfield students are expected to return to school on Tuesday, after a week in which Connecticut has repeatedly broken its previous daily records for viral positivity rates. The city of Fairfield alone recorded 783 new cases between Dec. 23 and Dec. 30, according to preliminary state data.

Fairfield Schools last reported coronavirus data on December 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.