FAIRFIELD, CT — Fairfield Prep has closed its school building through Monday as coronavirus cases continue to rise among area students after a recent wave of teen parties.
As of Thursday, three Prep students had tested positive for the virus and 40 students were in quarantine. The private school's temporary switch to remote learning follows a similar decision Wednesday by Fairfield Ludlowe High School to shutter its building for the rest of the week after several students were diagnosed with the virus. Both Prep and Fairfield Ludlowe started the semester using a hybrid model with students in the classroom part-time.
“While we are confident in our protocols and contact tracing measures, we feel that pausing on-campus learning for 72 hours provides an opportunity for some of our families to obtain COVID-19 tests and to distance our community in an abundance of caution,” Prep President Christian Cashman and Principal Tommy de Quesada said in an email to parents.
Town officials at a news conference Wednesday associated the recent teen cases with numerous parties held last weekend and attended by area high school students. One of the parties was so large that it was broken up by the police, and attendees at many of the events did not wear face masks or practice social distancing. High school and middle school students have also been reported gathering, without masks and in large groups, in public spaces across Fairfield, First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick said.
Prep students are expected to abide by the “Prep Pledge of Safety,” meaning they will not host or attend gatherings above size limits set by health authorities, according to the email.
“It is clear that if we cannot continue this discipline and commitment, our ability to maintain in-person instruction this semester at Prep will be compromised,” the email said. “… Clearly, we cannot continue to accept behaviors that put our faculty, staff and students at risk.”
Nine Fairfield Ludlowe students had tested positive for the virus as of Thursday, Fairfield Public Schools Director of Communications Andrea Clark confirmed. Also Thursday, 50 students and four staff members across the school district were in quarantine. In addition to Fairfield Ludlowe, students and staff from Fairfield Warde High School, Roger Ludlowe Middle School, Osborn Hill Elementary School and Riverfield Elementary School had at least one person in quarantine.