Dear West Hartford Families,

By now, you have received communication from your school’s principal regarding the resumption of school (be it in another form) on this coming Monday, March 23, 2020. I do not know when our physical buildings will reopen to welcome our staff and students again; that decision is with the governor, for now. We will be in session, in some form or another, until mid-June, and the official last day of school will be announced in the coming days. Our “virtual” schools that open Monday will have the same wonderful educators who, I can tell you from numerous google conversations this week, are thrilled to be able to reconnect with you and your children so soon. I believe that the dedication, planning and positive spirit of so many will make the best out of an immensely difficult situation.

I know that this has been a long week for all of us. We are all worried about the health and safety of loved ones, nervous for our friends and family members that have lost their jobs, and fearful of what might be in front of us. To get through this time, I have adopted a today’s problem vs. items to think about tomorrow strategy so that we could focus on what is essential, right now, and get to work. I want to share with you how much has been done in just five days this week because you should know just how many people have worked tirelessly in support of our community. .

We have delivered over 5,000 meals to our children, and the numbers have risen at each of our Grab and Go sites as the week has gone on. We have loaned out over 1300 chrome books over the past two days to families so that they have the essential tools for this new style of learning. Finally, yesterday and today over 1000 staff members have gone through intensive professional development on distance learning, and are ready to go on Monday morning to do all that we can to meet the needs of your children.

I am more proud tonight to be the superintendent of West Hartford Public Schools than I ever have been. There are simply too many people to thank who have gone above and beyond over the past ten days, but I would be remiss if I did not share a few, for they are often unsung heroes. Thank you to our custodial staff for cleaning, disinfecting and scrubbing our buildings thoroughly. Thank you to our IT staff, who broke town computer carts, and prepared thousands of devices to go out to our kids. Thanks to our nutrition services staff, and many volunteers, who ensured our children would be fed. Thanks to our nurses, who took care of so many as they always do, and tracked down question after question to ensure our health. Now, I hope that we can help you to return to just a bit of normalcy, or at least our new normal.

My executive team, our principals and administrators, and our teachers and staff are ready. We know that as we get things up and running, they will not always go perfectly. With that said, our platform, and our plan, will be followed by districts across our state and our country as they hear about it.  In a time of despair, I hope that the West Hartford Public Schools can provide some hope to our community, as an example of what can happen when we pull together. Thank you for your trust, your patience, and your continued partnership. We are all in this together.

Be Well,

Tom

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor announced that the Town received notice today from the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District (the “Health District”) of the first confirmed case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (”COVID-19”) in West Hartford.
 
“We knew it was only a matter of time before there was a confirmed case in West Hartford, given that community spread has already been established in our region,” said Mayor Cantor. “West Hartford is well prepared to deal with the influx of new cases, which is inevitable. We must assume that there are other cases already in our community at this time, and that the number will go up significantly. I am calling on all West Hartford residents to heed instructions by public health officials to ‘flatten the curve’ and slow the spread of the disease.”
 
Aimee Krauss, Acting Director of the Health District, said that the resident is between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. The Health District cannot disclose the identity or location of the resident due to privacy rules.
 
The resident will remain in isolation and the Health District will regularly monitor her health and perform contact tracing, in compliance with guidelines issued by the state Department of Public Health. Anyone who has had close contact with the resident will be told to self-quarantine.
 
“If you have any symptoms of illness, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, you should not leave home except to receive medical care,” said Krauss. “Stay in touch with your healthcare provider. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency.”
 
There is currently no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, and so the best way for individuals to protect themselves is to avoid being exposed. This means washing hands frequently, avoiding close contact with other people (within about 6 feet), and not leaving home unless absolutely necessary.
 
Town officials have been coordinating for months with the State of Connecticut and the Health District to ensure that a structure is in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. 
 
Residents can also get more information at the Town’s website, www.westhartfordct.gov/covid19. 

The following message was sent tonight via the Emergency Notification System by Mayor Shari Cantor:

Good evening, this is Mayor Shari Cantor.

I am calling you tonight to announce that pursuant to my recent emergency declaration regarding the global pandemic of Covid-19, the Town Manager has issued an executive order prohibiting social and recreational gatherings of more than ten people. The order will take effect tomorrow, Friday, March 20, 2020 and will be enforced by the West Hartford Police Department.  We join several other Connecticut towns in taking this important action.

This is a serious and difficult step but our number one priority is to protect the health and safety of all West Hartford residents and it will save lives. This executive order follows the most current CDC directive and addresses social and recreational activities, that include but are not limited to: community, civic, and sporting events; plays or live performances; and religious, spiritual, or worship gatherings. The emergency order runs through April 30, 2020, but may be modified at any time.

 We must do everything in our power to slow the community spread of Covid-19. This means that we must minimize direct contact with others. As social beings this is so incredibly challenging but it is essential at this difficult time.  We need to stop congregating in groups of more than ten and practice social distancing.

Earlier today, Town officials sent a letter urging parents and caregivers to make sure that all school-age youths are home each evening by 8:00PM. 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.

We need your help enforcing the 8PM rule at this critical stage of the virus. 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 number of confirmed cases in Connecticut is rising exponentially. We have to take every precaution available to us to slow the spread and prevent the health system from becoming overwhelmed. I call on the members of the West Hartford community to do everything we can to assist us in this effort.

This is serious and real. Social distancing saves lives.

West Hartford is strongly positioned to weather this historic crisis, but we cannot do it without the assistance of all or our residents. Each and every one of us has been forced to make incredible sacrifices and, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your cooperation.

Remember, we are all in this together. Thank you for listening. Stay healthy. Be well.

March 19, 2020

Dear West Hartford residents,

Your town leaders have been working tirelessly to protect each and every one you, both young and old alike.

Like many other communities worldwide, we have changed the way we are doing business and have put into place new guidelines aimed at preventing the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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 8:00PM. 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.

We need your help enforcing the 8PM rule at this critical stage of the virus.

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.  

Instead, enjoy the springtime weather by playing outdoor games with your kids in your yard, hiking the region’s outdoor trails, or staying inside to play a game or watch a movie. And, please always remember to wash your hands frequently.

Tell your kids: #ThinkBeyondYourself and join us as we #FlattenTheCurve and keep this virus from spiking and overwhelming our community and health care system. We have children of our own, and recognize how difficult this is. But together we can make a difference that will save lives.

Sincerely,

                                                                                                                                        

Shari Cantor             Matt Hart                       Tom Moore              Vernon Riddick, Jr.
Mayor                     Town Manager                Superintendent                Chief of Police

                 Greg Priest, Fire Chief &                                   Aimee Krauss
        Emergency Management Director              Acting Director, Health District

 
The Town of West Hartford announced today that it will offer free, short-term on-street parking in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square to facilitate quick trips and take-out service. In addition, the Town is lifting the overnight on-street parking ban to accommodate returning college students to their homes. 
 
Mayor Cantor stated: “We are making these changes to assist our business community and to enable members of the community to run errands in the Center and Blue Back Square and to order take-out at our local favorite restaurants.”
 
Municipal Parking Division will be posting signage designating all on-street, curbside spaces as 30-minute parking, free of charge. This change will stay in effect until further notice to secure parking availability for community members for those quick trips to the Center and Blue Back Square. The change applies to all on-street parking; over 500 curbside spaces are affected.
 
Signage will be mounted on A-frames, staged at the curb on major roads including:
 
  • Farmington Ave
  • LaSalle Rd
  • South Main Street
  • Isham Rd
  • Memorial Rd
 
Signage is being fabricated and will be in place by the end of the week.
 
In addition to the 30-minute parking duration, the Municipal Parking Division also offers participating restaurants with designated 15-minute parking spaces for take-out and delivery, free of charge. The intent is to support local restaurants as we adhere to the State’s mandate restricting services to take-out and delivery.
 
To date, motorists can find 15-minute parking spots located near participating eateries at the following locations:
 
  • Farmington Ave by Hartford Baking Company and Luna Pizza
  • LaSalle Rd by J Rene
  • South Main St by Blue Elephant and Flemings
  • Isham Rd by Cheesecake Factory and World of Beer
  • Memorial Rd by Playa Bowl and Spot Coffee
 
The Parking Division will enforce 15-minute and 30-minute parking spaces to ensure they are used for the intended purposes. For those requiring longer parking sessions, please park in the municipal parking lots and garages where fees apply.
 
Mayor Shari Cantor and Town Manager Matt Hart announced that Town Hall offices will continue to operate in a virtual manner and remain closed to the public for an indefinite period. The Town is taking this action to help prevent community spread of the COVID-19 disease and is awaiting additional guidance from the State.
 
“We have evaluated and modified our operations to ensure continued delivery of essential municipal services while the Town Hall building is closed,” said Matt Hart, Town Manager.  “Like their counterparts in many cities and towns nationwide, West Hartford employees are conducting their work remotely with only a few staff members physically working at Town Hall.”
 
“In keeping with Federal and State directives, it’s vitally important that we each do our part to maintain social distancing during this critical stage of COVID-19,” he continued.
 
Municipal locations that are closed in addition to Town Hall include Rockledge Golf Course, West Hartford Public Schools, Veterans Memorial Skating Rink, Cornerstone Aquatics Center, West Hartford Senior Center, Elmwood Senior Center, Elmwood Community Center, Hillcrest Area Neighborhood Outreach Center, and the three libraries.
 
West Hartford’s web site is a great place to start if you are in search for applications, resources, information, phone numbers and emails. We encourage residents to continue doing business with us virtually. We are here to help,” said Mayor Shari Cantor.
 
“Our main library serves as our Communications Center during this pandemic and has staff to answer general questions and to direct you to where you need to go,” she continued.
 
Call the Library at (860) 561-6990. Staff is available Monday through Friday from 9 AM - 5 PM. 
 
Resident can also call these Town Hall offices to ask questions:
 
Assessment - (860) 561-7414
Building Inspection – (860) 561-7530
Community Development – (860) 561-7520
Engineering – (860) 561-7540
Financial Services – (860) 561-7460
Fire Marshal – (860) 561-8320
Food Pantry – (860) 561-7580
Human Resources – (860) 561-7480
Information Technology – (860) 561-6636
Mayor’s Office – (860) 561-7440
Parking Tickets - (860) 561-7475
Permits - (860) 561-7530
Planning – (860) 561-7555
Recreation (Leisure Services) - (860) 561-7510
Registrar of Voters - (860) 561-7450
Schools Administration - (860) 561-6600
Social Services - (860) 561-7561
Tax Office - (860) 561-7474
Town Clerk - (860) 561-7430
Town Manager – (860) 561-7440
Town Hall (Main Number) - (860) 561-7500
Zoning - (860) 561-7555
 
We appreciate your patience and apologize for the inconvenience these closures are causing.

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You may have noticed that over the past couple of weeks, we’ve had a bit of a makeover.

What does it mean and how does it impact our ability to serve the public interest?

You, the community, have made us who we are and without you, our mission to protect community media would be meaningless. But as people become more connected with modern technology and new media, we’ve determined that in order to maintain the standards of community service that you’ve come to expect from us, West Hartford Community Television must evolve.

Therefore, we’ve decided that in order to continue to serve the people of West Hartford, we’ve chosen to rebrand ourselves with this philosophy in mind, and from now on West Hartford Community Television (WHC-TV) will be known as West Hartford Community Interactive (WHCi).

Don’t worry, we’re still on TV – we’re not reducing our ability to connect with you; in fact, just the opposite. We’re planning to connect with you in even more ways than before. Even now, we continue to explore new avenues of interactivity with the community to preserve the spirit of public access, including expanding our internet presence and educating people in the use of exciting modern media. In fact, we’ve just fully integrated the Town Council meeting videos on our YouTube Channel with the meeting agendas for convenient access and greater government transparency.

Our name and logo may be different, but at our core we’re still your hometown station. Thank you for supporting us all these years and for making us the best community media resource we can be.

For the Community, By the Community.

Why should you donate to West Hartford Community Interactive?

WHCi has been West Hartford's own hometown station for decades. We encourage citizens to express themselves through community media and educate people in the use of modern technology. "For the Community, By the Community" isn't just a slogan to us; it's a mission that we take seriously.

But we can't do it alone. We depend on people like you to make us the best community resource we can be.

If you donate to West Hartford Community Interactive, you'll...

... see your name on our Community Calendar.

... recieve special opportunities and privileges for events.

... help us upgrade our studio with bigger and better equipment.

... contribute to the protection of free speech.

... be recognized as part of the WHCi Family.

... and more!

You'd be making a huge difference with just a small donation. So we're asking you to please join us and contribute to the development of community media!

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