EAST HAVEN, CT - In a Patch interview with school superintendent Erica Forti Thursday, she did not provide the full picture of the quarantine situation in East Haven elementary schools.
Forti said Thursday afternoon that one class at Grove J. Tuttle Elementary School was sent home to do remote learning and remain in quarantine after the teacher tested positive for coronavirus.
In Patch’s interview with her and East Shore District Health director Michael Pascucilla they discussed how COVID-19 is not borne in the schools, but is coming in through community transmission.
East Haven Public Schools, unlike neighboring school districts who oped to go with the hybrid model, did a full, in-person schools model.
What Forti neglected to mention, and said Friday she would have if she had been asked, was that as of Thursday, there were a total of four elementary school classrooms in three different East Haven elementary schools that were quarantining because an educator or student in the class tested positive for COVID-19.
And then Friday, a fifth elementary school class was put into quarantine after a positive Covid test.
Currently, five separate elementary school classrooms from three different schools have all students from each quarantining at home and doing remote learning.
The schools and classes are: a fifth grade class from Dominick H. Ferrara School, a Tuttle School fifth grade class, and three classes from East Haven Academy; a first, second and fifth grade class.
Forti apologized and said if she had been asked if there were other classes quarantined she would have provided that information but since she was not asked she did not. She also said she does not know if Pascucilla was aware during the interview about the additional classroom quarantine situations.
Teachers without masks?
Patch has obtained video that purports to be an East Haven elementary school mathematics teacher instructing a class of young students sitting on a circle on the floor directly in front of her. The teacher is not wearing a mask while she’s instructing the students, who are responding to her questions. At one point she can be seen is wiping her nose on her hand while standing directly in front of the students.
Forti maintains that all the COVID-19 cases in East Haven public schools are from the community and not organically in the schools. She maintains that it is the community’s indifference to, or violation of, social distancing, gatherings of more than 25 people, and similar. The health director went a step further and said that sports and carpooling work culprits.
Other school superintendents in the area agree that community spread is the concern. For example, in Madison, the interim superintendent says the worry is about community spread from gatherings, parties and the like. But in Madison, there’s just one case.
The cases in East Haven
In East Haven it’s not entirely clear exactly how many cases there are now. This state Department of Education now has an interactive portal to check the number of cases in schools, but if the case number is less than 6, the directory does not tell you how many there are exactly; it’s between 1 and 5.
In East Haven right now, it’s possible there could be as many as 20 cases based on the state department of education data. By Patch’s count there are 10 to 12 cases.
On Oct. 22, two people tested positive; one from the Ferrara School community and one from Joseph Melillo Middle School, based on letters to families.
Prior to that, on Oct. 14, as Patch reported, there were two positive cases announced in letters to families: one a person who attends the adult education night school program and another at East Haven High School.
On Oct. 3, a positive coronavirus case at Joseph Melillo Middle School prompted 17 people to be asked to quarantine, according to the East Shore District Health Department.
Before that, on Sept. 22, a Momauguin Elementary School "community member" tested positive for COVID-19.
Check back for updates on the story as Patch speaks to parents with children in the affected elementary schools.