Local officials are using state guidance to make decisions regarding the coronavirus. In response to the disease, town departments are shifting the way they work.
Town Hall and Municipal Center
On Monday, the office of the town manager announced that all municipal buildings will close effective March 19 except by appointment for essential services.
“The town of Southington is asking our community to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect our residents; especially the most vulnerable,” state officials in a press release. “Staff members are available for essential services by appointment only. Please call the department with which you need to do business. If your request is deemed essential and cannot be conducted electronically or rescheduled for a later date, a staff member will make an appointment for you.”
Officials are strongly encouraging residents and businesses to conduct business with the town electronically and through mail.
“Town staff will still be working on our closed facilities and available by mail and phone,” said officials in a press release. “Drop boxes will also be available for building permits and payments at the municipal center and taxes at town hall. We will continue to collaborate with our local, state, and federal health officials and follow their recommendations.”
The town has established an email address that municipal employees and the public can use for asking specific questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. The email will be monitored by all members of the health district.
Library and Calendar House
The Southington Public Library and the senior center, the Calendar House, cancelled all programs and activities, effective March 17.
The library closed at 9 p.m. on March 17 and anticipates re-opening to the public on March 30. From March 18 to 27, library staff will continue to report to work, however the library will be closed to the public.
“The health and well-being of our community is our top priority, but our goal to enrich the community with educational, cultural and recreational resources does not stop even when we are closed,” said library director Kristi Sadowski in a press release. Staff will continue to answer the phone, respond to reference inquiries, and assist the community.
Temporary e-cards will provide access to digital resources. In addition, curbside material pickup will be available. Learn more about these programs at www.southingtonlibrary.org or call for more details at (860) 628-0947.
Staff at the senior enter will also continue reporting to work, but the building will be closed to the public from March 18 to 30. Dial-A-Ride bus service will be provided or medical transportation only during this time. Curbside food service will be available if allowed by contract with CW Resources.
“We will provide more details as we receive them,” said officials in a press release.
Southington Public Schools closed beginning Monday, March 16 for a minimum period of two weeks per the recommendations by the state department of health and the local health department and state department of education.
“The closure includes all activities including athletics, extra-curricular activities, student clubs, etc.,” said Superintendent of Schools Tim Connellan in a letter to parents. “At this time, we anticipate that schools will reopen Monday, March 30 unless additional information dictates another course of action.”
Though the schools are closed, the district will be able to offer free “grab-and-go” breakfast and lunch programs to students. SPS students and other children in the household can participate. These meals can be picked up at either DePaolo Middle School or Derynoski Elementary School between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Drive up to the cafeteria side of the building and someone will bring meals out.
The school district has provided COVID-19 online learning plans by grade. Plans are spelt out on southingtonschools.org/covid-19-information-for-families. For additional information, administration has set up an email address that parents and guardians can send questions to: Covid19@southingtonschools.org.
The local YMCA, under the most recent executive order from Governor Ned Lamont, has announced closure until further notice. This includes all programs and services provided through the Southington Community YMCA, Cheshire Community YMCA, YMCA Gymnastics Center, Spirit, Mind & Body Center, Sports Performance Center and the YMCA Learning Center.
YMCA Camp Sloper will remain open for hiking and other wellness activities. However, the playground, basketball court and ninja course will be closed per the recommendation of the state and local health departments.
“If you intend to visit the YMCA Outdoor Center, please practice social distancing, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer and be respectful of other members using the property,” state officials online. “In partnership with state and local health officials and other community leaders, we are exploring alternative ways to meet community needs during this time.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at News@SouthingtonObserver.com