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West Hartford Town Leaders Request All School-Age Youth to be Home by 8 p..m.

West Hartford logo. Courtesy of Town of West Hartford

West Hartford’s mayor, town manager, superintendent of schools, police and fire chiefs, and the director of the health district issued a joint letter to the community Thursday asking parents to voluntarily adopt an 8 p.m. curfew.

By Ronni Newton

Amid reports of children continuing to congregate in large groups, ignoring guidelines regarding social distancing, town leaders issued a letter to the community Thursday asking for voluntary cooperation and make sure all school-age children are home by 8 p.m. 

The letter was jointly signed by Mayor Shari Cantor, Town Manager Matt Hart, Superintendent of Schools Tom Moore, Police Chief Vernon Riddick, Jr., Fire Chief & Emergency Management Director Greg Priest, and Acting Director of West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District Aimee Krauss.

“As a way of encouraging social distancing, West Hartford officials are urging all parents and caregivers to make sure that all school-age youths are home each evening by 8 p.m.,” the letter states. “While it seems that children, adolescents, and young adults are less likely to get sick from COVID-19, they can be carriers, infecting those who are most vulnerable.”

As of now this is a first step and not a legally-imposed curfew, but that may follow if the behavior continues.

“Right now we are urging compliance and we need people to heed these directives,” Mayor Shari Cantor said.

“It’s a firm request, and a curfew will be the next step,” Town Manager Matt Hart said.

West Hartford town leaders have been working non-stop to protect the community, both young and old, and are adopting new and ever-changing guidelines to prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19. Changes include not just closing schools, senior centers, libraries, and recreation facilities, but also closing Town Hall to the public, a move that was announced Wednesday night.

“We need your help enforcing the 8 p.m. rule at this critical stage of the virus,” Thursday’s letter states.

“Everyone should avoid groups that draw 10 or more people and to avoid places that attract a lot of people. And children should not be allowed to participate in playdates, sleep-overs, team sports, house parties and other group activities that would greatly expand their risk of spreading this virus,” the letter continues.

Suggested activities include playing outdoor games and hiking as a family when weather permits, or playing games or watching movies inside – with family members.

Frequent and thorough hand-washing is also critical.

“Tell your kids: #ThinkBeyondYourself and join us as we #FlattenTheCurve and keep this virus from spiking and overwhelming our community and health care system,” the town leaders said.

“We have children of our own, and recognize how difficult this is. But together we can make a difference that will save lives.”

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