Health and Facility Cleaning Update
I wanted to share with you the district conversations, updates, and planning taking place as our country is preparing to deal with a potential spread of COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. I assume you have been watching headlines over the past weeks and months and have wondered, like me, if our “if” would turn into a “when” regarding the virus reaching the U.S.
I have been in a number of planning sessions with other school districts about potential responses. Most districts, like Independence, are in a wait-and-see pattern. School districts individually make the determination if schools close for calamity or illness. We rely heavily on the guidance of the Cuyahoga County and Ohio Departments of Health in making any such decision, should the virus reach our community. Districts in Washington and Idaho are responding to potential cases with a few days of school closures for deep cleaning. The Center for Disease Control and the above-mentioned Departments of Health are providing health updates as they develop. This is truly a dynamic situation that district leaders are watching closely and collaborating with other agencies as we gather new information. I will keep our community updated with information as it is released and as we create our next steps.
At the district level, we are trying to take proactive steps to keep our classrooms and facilities clean and safe. We are striving to meet and exceed cleaning best practices, including sanitizing every touched surface in our schools every day. This includes desks, tables, doorknobs, shelves, counters, among other areas. Our buses are disinfected regularly. While hand sanitizers are part of the equation in keeping our students in good health and readily available in classrooms, there is simply no replacement for thorough hand-washing. We are amping up our teaching and reinforcement of quality hand-washing guidelines as well. We also regularly review our student attendance data for trends in illnesses.
I am asking that our parents continue to be our partners in proactively keeping our schools as healthy as can be. With the cold and flu season in full-swing, this pending health situation is yet another reason to ask that parents keep students home when they are sick. I assure you our teachers will work with your student to catch him or her up on any missed learning during a time of absence. The guideline of “fever-free for 24 hours” is a solid one when determining when to allow your child back to school.
Our Health Services page of the district website has a number of linked resources for community, parent, and family discussion. As a dad, I have been careful to review the Talking to Children about COVID-19 resources. We also regularly practice hand-washing, sneezing and coughing into our elbows, along with regular sanitization of areas at home. Teaching these proactive steps will help us all to stay as healthy as possible.
Hopefully, our community will not feel any impact from the potential spread of COVID-19 and our spring continues with classes, activities, and school as planned. We will be working hard to keep our schools as clean and sanitary as possible and ask that parents help as our partners in these ventures.
Your partner in education,