COVID-19 Update No. 2, 3/23

March 23, 2020

In this email you will find COVID-19 related updates and information below from:

  • Stamford Public Schools
  • CT Department of Transportation
  • CT State Department of Education
  • Department of Revenue Services
  • List of Essential Businesses Released
  • The Connecticut Airport Authority

Here's an email from Stamford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tamu Lucero to staff and parents today regarding Distance Learning and more, including the federal government's announcement that Standardized Test requirements are suspended for this school year, which you'll find among seven updates also included the email below.

As we enter the second week of Distance Learning, I want to take a moment to thank the staff, teachers, parents, and students for their outstanding efforts. As we continue to determine the best way to provide Distance Learning for all students, we also must acknowledge the social emotional impact that this is having on our school community and around the world.

Therefore, I am encouraging everyone to be mindful of the need to take breaks through the Distance Learning educational day. Find ways to continue to cultivate your heart, body, as well as your mind. Social distancing and isolation not to mention Distance Learning is far from easy. Some students, teachers, staff, administrators and community members are struggling to adapt, therefore I want to stress that your health and wellness must come first everyday. Remember to check the Resources During Closure page on the district website regularly. 

Please know that things are changing every day, every hour and sometimes by the minute. Here are some updates:

  1. The SPS school year is scheduled to end no later than June 16, 2020. (Dolan and Anchor are scheduled to make up an additional day, making their last day June 17, 2020.)
  2. Spring break will take place, as scheduled, from April 6, 2020 through April 12, 2020. All Distance Learning will pause during this time.
  3. The federal government announced that Standardized Test requirements are suspended for this school year.
  4. A link to information regarding online AP testing will be available on the Resources During Closure page and from your student’s AP teacher.
  5. The Governor’s latest Executive Order, which excludes municipalities from workplace restrictions, is in keeping with our current practice of limiting access to our school buildings or educational sites to food insecurity programs (meal service), maintenance, repair and construction projects, as well as staff picking up materials for lesson preparations and families picking up needed technology or materials.
  6. We have reduced the number of Grab and Go sites this week. The updated list is available on the Resources During Closure page of the district website. Additionally, beginning next week we will distribute meals on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Families will get enough meals for two days on Mondays and Wednesdays and three days on Fridays.
  7. As of today we are scheduled to return to school on April 13, 2020. Please be mindful that this is subject to change and we will share information as soon as it is available.

Finally, I must take this moment to reiterate that, as difficult as it may be, we must continue to practice social distancing. It is imperative that adults stop allowing children and teens to gather on our fields and playgrounds. Healthcare leaders stress that the only way to combat the Coronavirus Pandemic is by eliminating social interaction.

Please take care of yourself, your family, and friends and know that I am thinking of you all.

Dr. Tamu Lucero, Superintendent Stamford Public Schools

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is monitoring and modifying some operations in the wake of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.

The CTDOT is committed to being responsive to the needs of the public during these challenging times. We are coping with this crisis, trying to balance the needs of commuters with our ability to maintain operations.

Members of the public wishing to contact agency staff to report problems, concerns or to provide any comments or feedback should visit our website and utilize the "contact us" form, which is being monitored by Department staff.

The following is an update on CTDOT programs and facilities:

For the time being, road and bridge construction projects are continuing as planned. Contractors are being instructed to follow best practices and to follow public health guidelines for sanitizing and minimizing potential for virus transmission.

Highway and roadway maintenance - including snow plowing, pothole repair, sign and guiderail repair, tree removal, traffic signal repairs, and other related activities - will continue in business-as-usual operations.

Public Transportation

As a result of reduced ridership, Hartford Line and Shore Line East train schedules have been reduced, using weekend schedules on weekdays, and holiday schedules on weekends. Metro-North New Haven Line trains – between New Haven and Grand Central Terminal in New York City – are operating normal weekday and weekend service. Commuters should check and for service updates.

Trains, stations, and buses are normally cleaned every day and disinfected as needed. Now, MTA is disinfecting stations and high-touch surfaces—like turnstiles, ticket machines, and handrails—twice a day. MTA cleaners are working to disinfect trains, cars, and buses every day, with the entire active service fleet being covered every 72 hours. CDC-endorsed cleaning products are being used.

MTA daily Coronavirus updates can be found here:

There are no delays to PTC (positive train control) implementation.

CTtransit bus service has also been impacted by reduced ridership, but for now, buses are operating on normal weekday and weekend schedules. CTtransit service updates can be found at

Yesterday, the Department announced immediate temporary changes to bus operations to safeguard drivers and the public and protect continuity of operation of Connecticut’s bus system during this difficult time. The changes will be implemented on all CTtransit and CTfastrak buses as well as all transit districts in Connecticut.

Effective immediately, passengers will now board from the rear door with the exception of passengers who are in wheelchairs and others who require the bus to kneel. Rear door boarding will help maintain recommended social distancing by providing space of six feet or greater between customers and bus drivers.

Additionally, approximately 100 CTtransit buses have been equipped with transparent protective barriers providing a partition between drivers and passengers. These 100 buses will be redeployed to the busiest routes to provide the greatest level of protection for drivers, while CTDOT staff continue to review options to expedite delivery and installation of barriers in additional buses.

Bus service providers will continue additional cleaning protocols as a result of COVID-19. All buses will continue to be cleaned and sanitized daily, including sanitizing of high-contact surfaces using enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols recommended by the CDC.

Connecticut's bus system is essential in responding to and contending with the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. Some of the state's most vulnerable residents, as well as critical health care workers, home health aides and grocery store employees rely and depend on the use of bus service. Some have no other transportation access, and it is imperative that the system remain operational. To ensure this outcome, the CTDOT strongly encourages the public to reserve bus and public transit for ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ONLY such as getting to and from work or for procuring essential needs. Customers should practice social distancing while waiting at bus stops and while riding the bus (Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a distance of approximately six feet from others, when possible). CUSTOMERS WHO FEEL SICK SHOULD NOT USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. This is especially important for those with symptoms of COVID-19. If you are taking public transportation and need to cough or sneeze, use a tissue or cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper arm instead of your hand.

Transit districts - The Department continues to have daily calls with all bus transit providers in the state as well as collect daily data on workforce availability, ridership, service changes and supply inventory. Transit ridership still continues to be substantially down across the state with Express/Commuter and ADA services being the most affected. A majority of the service changes at this point have been directly related to the closing of schools, malls, and other businesses. State-wide service reductions are still being considered with great care. Availability of transit for those providing essential services is of upmost importance.

Driver absenteeism and driver concerns regarding potential exposure to COVID-19 while working, especially those who operate ADA services and have direct contact with customers, is a major concern.

Service Plazas and Rest Areas
Service plazas on I-95, I-395 and the Merritt and Wilbur Cross Parkways remain open for highway travelers and are subject to Department of Public Health directives. Take-out food is still being served but visitors are being directed to purchase their items, and remove them from the facilities to minimize any congregation of people. Rest area and Service Plaza facilities are continually being cleaned and sanitized.

From the CT State Department of Education which today received guidance regarding the education of special education children, along with some distance learning resources. A press release is here and contains links for the new information, along with a fact sheet.

More from the SDE...

We are very pleased to announce that we applied for a waiver from the federal government pertaining to standardized testing and accountability on Friday and it was approved later that day. Attached please find a copy of the waiver request.

In accordance with Governor Lamont’s EO 7C, and due to extended school closures, we are providing guidance for the extension of flexibilities for all candidates currently enrolled in approved Connecticut Educator Preparation Programs. Please see that guidance attached.

We are also providing guidance pertaining to the available flexibilities for local or regional boards of education with regard to contracting with technology vendors in response to many inquiries that we’ve received from caucus members and their constituents. That guidance is attached.

While we will have additional information on this in the near future, we also wanted to share some resources that were compiled specifically for English Learner students. You can access that information by clicking on this link, and scrolling through the tabs on the bottom of the page.

Lastly, attached is the daily update on the emergency meals program. We are up to 128 programs authorized and 402 sites serving meals.

The deadline for filing state and federal personal income tax returns has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020.

You can file anytime before July 15 - and are encouraged to do so if you are owed a refund.

For more information, visit the state Department of Revenue Services and the IRS.

Also, Governor Ned Lamont and Economic Development Commissioner David Lehman have released the list of “essential” businesses as part of the Governor’s 'Stay Safe, Stay Home' initiative.

As you know, the Governor is encouraging all businesses to employ any telecommuting or work-from-home procedures that they can safely and reasonably implement. Governor Lamont signed an executive order directing all non-essential businesses and not-for-profit entities in Connecticut to prohibit all in-person functions, effective Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

However, we will still have essential functions like healthcare, food service, law enforcement, and similar critical services open and available.

To find out what businesses will be open, you can read the DECD guidance here:

If your business has not been deemed “essential,” you can apply for an exemption here.

The Connecticut Airport Authority continues to respond to the significant, unprecedented challenges that COVID-19 poses to the aviation industry.

Bradley International Airport has already experienced major impacts as a result of the ongoing situation, particularly in the areas of activity level and revenues.

Despite the impacts, it is critical to maintain operational capacity at the airport for the remaining commercial passengers, cargo aircraft, military operations, and potential diversions from other airports.

The following outlines the steps taken by the Connecticut Airport Authority to ensure the safety of the CAA’s passengers, facilities, and workforce, as well as the impacts that we have felt at CAA airports to-date:

Safety Precautions

  • Sanitization
    • Over the past few weeks, we have significantly enhanced cleaning throughout the terminal, with an emphasis on high-touch passenger areas and general sanitization
  • Cleaning staff was increased by approximately 30% during peak travel periods
    • The CAA has deployed 12 hand sanitizing stations throughout the terminal
    • Many airlines are offering hand sanitizer, all have enhanced their cleaning processes in their leased space, and some are offering waivers for flight changes/cancellations
  • Quarantine Protocols
    • The CAA has developed quarantine procedures in the event that a passenger on an aircraft or in the terminal exhibits symptoms
  • CDC / DPH Coordination
    • The CAA is staying in regular contact with relevant health authorities and maintaining constant contact with other agencies through governor’s unified command calls
  • Airport Best Practices
    • The CAA is staying in close contact with airports across the country through daily trade organization conference calls to discuss shared experiences and best practices

Airline Activity

  • Services
    • Many airlines have suspended routes and reduced frequencies
  • Aer Lingus’ Dublin service is suspended until at least mid-April
  • Air Canada services are suspended through May
  • Cleveland and Houston routes have been suspended
  • Chicago and Dulles routes have reduced frequencies
  • Passenger Numbers
    • The following data shows year-over-year passenger decreases on a day-of-the-week basis (ie Monday, March 16, 2020 vs. corresponding Monday in 2019)
  • Numbers are based on TSA checkpoint throughput and should be considered demonstrative only, as actual airline data will not be available for weeks
  • Daily Stats o 3/13/20: 37.3% decrease o 3/14/20: 44.4% decrease o 3/15/20: 51.5% decrease o 3/16/20: 59.4% decrease o 3/17/20: 65.2% decrease o 3/18/20: 75.7% decrease o 3/19/20: 81.5% decrease o 3/20/20: 83.1% decrease o 3/21/20: 77.6 % decrease o 3/22/20: 84% decrease
  • BDL passenger traffic drops are very similar to what is being experienced at Logan and the New York airports, and it is expected that this will continue to worsen over time
  • Airlines have started requesting relief from the CAA (rent, etc.), which threatens to further hamper CAA revenues


  • In accordance with Governor Lamont’s recent executive order, most restaurants at Bradley International Airport were closed, with the exception of a few, limited takeway options
  • Some retail operators have closed, and others have altered their hours
  • Concessionaires have started requesting additional relief from the CAA (rent, etc.), which threatens to further hamper CAA revenues
  • TSA
  • The CAA is closely monitoring TSA staffing levels and coordinating with the agency to ensure that adequate resources are available at the checkpoint to avoid passengers congregating in line
  • General Aviation Airports
  • General aviation air traffic is generally down across all of the GA airports
  • The 121 Restaurant at Waterbury-Oxford Airport has already declared bankruptcy due to the rapid downturn

CAA Workforce

  • To promote social distancing and protect the CAA workforce, all non-operating employees have been strongly encouraged to telecommute
  • All staff have been provided materials to sanitize their work areas
  • Additional cleaning is taking place in office spaces

Cost Reduction Planning

  • In light of the plummeting revenues, CAA staff is rapidly developing a cost reduction plan
    • However, no layoffs are being contemplated

Federal Assistance

  • The CAA continues to advocate for airport assistance as Congress debates aid packages o The airport industry seeks $10 billion of assistance to help ensure that airports are able to meet their debt payment obligations in the face of plummeting revenues


The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is monitoring and modifying some operations in the wake of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.