New changes made in Stamford to respond to COVID-19

Westhill's COVID-19 testing site opened on March 31. The welcome sign states that testing can be done by appointment only, and the site itself can be found by the tents in the senior parking lot // Photo by Micayla Roth / Online Executive Editor.

As the coronavirus continues to take its toll on the world, the City of Stamford is implementing multiple plans to help its thousands of citizens. 

According to Patch, a website dedicated to providing local news information, Mayor of Stamford David Martin announced that Westhill High School will now be used as a drive-through appointment-only testing site for the coronavirus operated by the city of Stamford’s Department of Health on Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM in the senior parking lot. Therefore, free grab-and-go meals are no longer being offered at Westhill High School. However, any Stamford Public Schools student under the age of 18 can still receive them at certain other schools.

As of Thursday, April 9, Governor of Connecticut Ned Lamont stated that all schools in Connecticut will be closed until May 20. Ever since schools in Connecticut closed in March due to the coronavirus, the city of Stamford recognized the fact that many students will lack proper access to food during this time, especially since many parents are no longer able to work. Therefore, there are still grab-and-go meals at these schools from 10:00 AM through 12:00 PM, where students can be provided with two breakfast meals, two lunch meals, and one dinner meal on Mondays and Wednesdays, and three breakfast meals and three lunch meals on Fridays. 

In addition to free grab-and-go meals being given out at most Stamford Public Schools, there will also be meals offered at community-based organizations such as Anchor at Harbor Landing on 68 Southfield Avenue and the Yerwood Center on 90 Fairfield Avenue. From 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, other community-based organizations such as the Chester Addison Center on 245 Selleck Street, Trailblazer (also known as Domus) on 83 Lockwood Avenue, and B1C on 75 Selleck Street will also be giving free grab and go meals. Dinner meals are only available at the school distribution locations on Mondays and Wednesdays and not at the community-based centers. These meals can only be distributed to parents or guardians of children who are of ages 18 or younger. Duplicate meals cannot be distributed to any child so families should not go to multiple locations on the same day to receive meals. This is done to ensure that every family is provided with the food they need. 

In addition to the provision of free meals, Superintendent Lucero announced in an email to the community on April 9 that students will be loaned laptops due to a recent donation with a distribution plan in progress, and that WiFi hotspots can be obtained by contacting your principal. She also said that Phase II of the Distance Learning Plan will be announced later this week and will go into effect starting on April 20, and that plans to make-up for senior events are being discussed.

Ever since Westhill High School in addition to schools across the world closed in March, many students were greatly impacted by this change as Westhill High School made the transition to online distance learning. Some students wish to go back to school and continue their normal routines. 

“The coronavirus has impacted the way my daily life is. I have had a hard time sleeping and a hard time with my online schoolwork at times. I was not able to celebrate my 18th birthday with the rest of my other family members and friends. I miss socializing with other people because I have been getting bored and tired lately from not doing anything at the house,” Victoria Rodriguez (’20) said. 

Other students are grateful as they can work in the comfort of their own homes. 

“I love being able to relax and work at my own pace within my own home,” Kelly Fox (’20) said. 

With more cases in Stamford than anywhere else in Connecticut according to the Stamford Advocate, four testing sites have been set up, whose hours and addresses can be found here. Due to the limited access to testing kits and medical supplies, these testing sites will prioritize individuals based on those who show symptoms, first responders, and medical professionals. Additionally, “Quick Result” fingerstick tests have become available in Stamford, which Mayor Martin plans to use to test all first responders, according to stamfordct.gov

Stamford residents can visit 211ct.org or they can dial 211 for information on testing sites in Connecticut as well as local services such as utility assistance, elderly care, crisis intervention, and much more during this difficult time. Citizens who want an appointment to be tested for the coronavirus can call Stamford’s dedicated COVID-19 testing hotline at 1-833-508-8378. The hotline is operated seven days a week from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM for all Stamford residents, even those without health insurance or a primary care physician. 

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