As COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations continue to increase across the state, the City of Norwalk and Norwalk Public Schools are instituting a requirement for all employees to be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listed Fairfield County in a high rate of community transmission for the first time. Currently, 95% of the country is listed in a substantial or higher transmission rate according to the CDC. Cases in Norwalk are also at the highest levels in more than three months. The vaccine or testing requirement, along with the ongoing indoor mask mandate regardless of vaccine status, are combined efforts to combat the rising spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant.
“I believe we must provide a safe workplace for employees. We also must instill confidence in members of the public that our employees who they are in contact with are doing what they can to stay safe,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling. “My number one priority has always been the health and safety of our community and employees. This is a proactive step to curb transmission. We have worked so hard and sacrificed so much throughout this pandemic that I do not want us to stumble backward. We have the tools to end this pandemic and we must use them.”
The Connecticut State Department of Education has provided direction that all school districts in Connecticut will return to full in-person learning this year, with masks currently required for all staff and students, regardless of vaccine status. Currently in Norwalk, nearly 60% of people aged 12-17 are fully vaccinated. Those under the age of 12 are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The first day of classes for Norwalk Public Schools is Monday, August 30.
“As we welcome students, faculty, and staff back for the new school year, we are all disappointed that COVID-19 continues to impact our lives,” said Dr. Alexandra Estrella, Superintendent of Norwalk Public Schools. “As we return to full in-person learning this year, we are committed to making sure that effective health protocols and strong social emotional supports are in place for our children and staff. We will also continue working with our healthcare partners to provide opportunities for staff and students to get vaccinated against COVID-19. We look forward to a very successful school year.”
Earlier today Governor Lamont announced similar requirements for all state employees, K-12 teachers and staff and early childhood teachers and staff.
City officials continue to encourage residents to get vaccinated. For more information, and a list of upcoming vaccine clinics, visit norwalkct.org/vaccine.