Good morning. Today I am announcing several more changes to our town government in Easton and to our public facilities.
Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, the Easton Library will be closed. It will reopen on Tuesday for drive by pick up and drop off of material only. We will post details on the Town and Library websites. Town Hall will work with a reduced staff. Most of the services provided by Town Hall can temporarily be done over the phone, email or online. Please limit your visits to Town Hall to those which are absolutely essential. Larger public meetings (such as my brown bag lunch and evening meetings) and public information meetings (such as the ones regarding SHU) will be postponed.
We are trying to find ways to continue the budget process including call backs for some departments, and the date for public hearing on the budget approaching. It is too early in this crisis to plan for our Annual Town Meeting. Boards and commissions can have some latitude to schedule their meetings in larger rooms, by conference call, or other electronic applications. The Governor of Connecticut will likely issue an Executive Order in the next few days defining what is permissible.
Going forward, social distancing is essential. The CDC recommends a distance of at least 6 feet from anybody else. Traveling, even to neighboring towns, should be done with caution and consideration for the necessity of the trip, especially for those who are at high risk. “High risk” means our seniors and individuals with chronic diseases which can diminish their immune systems. Visit the CDC website for more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
I feel that some perspective here is valuable and necessary. There will be people in Easton with Coronavirus and most likely there are people in Easton - right now - who already have the virus. While the virus seems to be highly contagious, it also seems that about 80% of people infected have little or no symptoms, and may never know that they were infected (which is why social distancing is an imperative). Often times, those who get very sick also happen to be in the high risk group (as mentioned above) and may not present as someone who is high risk because some underlining diseases are not visible from the outside.
I would like to urge parents to think carefully about your children. In this day and age, no matter how you may try to shield even our smallest children, they know that something is very different. They most likely have never been suddenly out of school and had their routines disrupted for longer than a bad snow storm or weather emergency delay. This will be different and longer in comparison. If we are visibly panicked, they may pick up on that and express it in many different ways. Some may not have the understanding to view what is going on in the way that hopefully we, as adults, can. As parents, all have different approaches to this, and I do not want to be prescriptive, so please give some thought as to what and how much age appropriate information to give your children.
Central Office (Easton, Redding, and Region 9) and all other administrators are working feverishly to prepare a plan for educating our children at this time. Having worked on the Easton Board of Education, I can tell you the many layers of complexity involved in pulling this together when starting from scratch. Our dedicated staff, administrators, and ER9 community all want what is best for the young adults and children of Easton and Redding. Please be patient as the arrangements are put into place for the near future. Please make sure that you are signed up to receive alerts from ER9 and the Town so you can plan accordingly.
The degree to which all of our lives are being disrupted is dramatic as well as frustrating. Please be patient, be well, be careful and we will all get through this together.