As I am sure you are aware, yesterday the CDC issued a statement about the likely spread of the coronavirus in communities across the United States. The CDC also clarified that the United States is not currently facing a coronavirus pandemic. There are 14 confirmed cases of people in the U.S. with the virus.
Public health agencies are tasked with handling the spread of serious contagions like the coronavirus. All have been very helpful and responsive. Based on all the guidelines issued by these government agencies, here is what I continue to focus on in our school community:
- monitoring directives from the CDC, World Health Organization, The New York State Department of Health, and The Nassau County Department of Health.
- enforcing basic hygiene protocols, i.e. making sure that everyone is washing their hands, covering their coughs and sneezes, and staying home if symptoms are noticed (fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing). Please note that based on what I have read so far about N95 masks, they have not proven to be an effective strategy for protecting individuals from contracting the coronavirus.
- enforcing CDC quarantine guidelines regarding children who have traveled to China and children who may have been in contact with people traveling to China. As you know, this past week, outbreaks have been reported in Iran, Italy, and South Korea. I am asking that you continue to notify me if you have traveled to any of the countries where a significant number of cases have been reported. Please note that when that has been the case, I have asked a physician to clear the child or children before they return to school. In the case of China, I have asked the families to adhere to the CDC’s quarantine guidelines.
- There are currently no CDC or WHO directives to halt international travels. For those of you whose children are participating in the trip to France and Spain this summer, I will continue to monitor the number of reported cases in those two countries.
- In the worst case scenario, if our local department of health should require that schools be closed for an extended period of time, I will work with the administrative team to develop a plan that would minimize the impact of the disruption on student learning.
The effectiveness of our response at the school community level is proportional to everyone’s support and adherence to the guidelines mentioned above, in particular keeping children who are exhibiting coughing and fever symptoms home and informing me of any travel plans to countries with a significant number of reported cases.
While the tone I want to continue to promote for our children is “business as usual,” please know that there is nothing that matters more to me than the safety and health of our community.