Second Health Update on the Coronavirus

The public health threat caused by coronavirus is now considered high, both globally and to the United States. Although the individual risk is dependent on exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says schools, childcare centers, workplaces, and other places for mass gathering may experience more absenteeism. To keep our school community safe, we ask that students, faculty, and staff institute the following protocols:

Suspend handshaking. It’s a simple act of courtesy that shows respect to members of our community, but we feel that in light of this public health alert, it is safer for us to halt this tradition until further notice.

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. To prevent the spread of germs, rip your paper towel before you turn the faucet on, and use an extra paper towel to open the bathroom door. 

Use alcohol-based hand rub if you are not able to use soap and water. Carry a small bottle of hand-sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and use it after you touch items that are frequently used by other students and staff. 

Avoid touching someone else’s personal items. This includes laptops, pencils, desks, books, musical instruments, etc. 

Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing. Use a tissue (and throw it away after use) or flexed elbow. Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Wash your hands afterward.

Stay home if you are feeling sick. Students, faculty, and staff are recommended to stay home and not come to school until they are free of fever (100 degrees F or greater), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing and other symptom-altering medicines. 

The CDC suggests these additional prevention guidelines:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wear a face mask if you show symptoms to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.

In our critical efforts to maintain the health of our learning community members, our school medical staff will be closely tracking student and faculty health and will alert parents if their child exhibits any of the symptoms associated with the coronavirus, which includes fever, cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing (and may appear between 2-14 days after exposure). The CDC adds that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that the virus will cause a pandemic, so anything we can do to make our school community safer is appreciated. Individual division leaders will be sending out more communication regarding illness prevention and their specific grade levels.

Please visit the CDC, WHO, as well as the NJ Department of Health websites for more information.

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