XX Coronavirus update
Due to the rising concern over the outbreak of Coronavirus, we wish to reach out to all of our families in order to provide the latest information and recommendations we have received through our state education department and health department.
A new coronavirus called 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first found in Wuhan,
Hubei Province, China. This virus had not been found in humans before. This coronavirus can
lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing. There are thousands of diagnosed cases in China and new cases being diagnosed in a number of countries including the United States.
What do we know?
Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to watch how this virus spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working hard to learn as much as possible about this new virus, so that we can better understand how it spreads and causes illness. The CDC considers this virus to be a serious public health concern.
How Does 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus Spread?
Health experts believe the virus spreads from animals to humans and from person to person. It’s not clear yet how easily the virus spreads from person-to-person.
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) is not currently a concern for the general public and is not actively circulating among New Yorkers at this time. In fact there are still no confirmed cases in New York State. Therefore, there is no need for us to cancel school or social events, and there is no need for students or school staff to wear surgical masks at school.
There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV:
- Encourage your children to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Remind children to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Encourage children to avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Keep children home when they are sick.
- Remind children to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not their hands) when coughing or sneezing. If a tissue is used, throw it in the trash.
- Schools should routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Information to date suggests that 2019-nCoV causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Are visitors to the US from China being screened?
Yes, as of February 2nd new screening protocols are being conducted for individuals entering the US from China at designated airports.
PreK-12 schools may have students who attend school and have traveled to various areas in the world, including China. At this time, the NY State Education Department recommends that students should not be excluded from school or any school activities based on recent travel (or a family member’s recent travel), including to any part of China. Schools may only exclude a student if a local health department informs the school that a student must comply with a quarantine order or the student is symptomatic of a communicable or infectious disease pursuant to Education Law §906.
This is an emerging and rapidly changing situation. For questions please contact your local department of health or the NYS DOH Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065. We encourage you to keep up to date about 2019-nCoV, its treatment and prevention by visiting the following websites:
CDC’s 2019-nCoV website: https://www.cdc.gov/nCoV
NYSDOH’s 2019-nCoV website: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/
Directory of local health departs: https://www.health.ny.gov/contact/contact_information/
New York State Center for School Health website: www.schoolhealthny.com
We have reviewed our cleaning procedures and identified additional measures we can take to ensure we are doing everything possible to prevent the spread of illness. Staff members will have access to disinfecting wipes throughout the day. In addition, we are increasing access to antibacterial dispensers throughout all three buildings. Currently, the NY State Health Department is offering weekly webinars to provide updates. We will be taking advantage of those in order to have the latest information possible to protect our students and staff.
Please know that the safety of your children is of paramount importance to all of us in the Marcellus School District. We will continue to monitor this situation and take every precaution to maintain a healthy school environment.
Michelle L. Brantner
Superintendent of Schools