• Monday, March 2, 2020

    Important Coronavirus Information

    health Information regarding the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has dominated the news cycle over the past several weeks. Please note that there are NO confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania and the risk of infection to the general public is currently LOW.

    Information regarding the coronavirus – including links to resources from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Allegheny County Health Department, the Pennsylvania Department of Health – are available on the district’s website under the “Health Services” tab. This information was posted in early February and will continue to be updated as needed. 

    DISTRICT PREPARATIONS

    I want to assure you that our administration, facilities and health services staff have been closely monitoring this evolving situation for the last several weeks and we are following the recommendations/guidelines put forth by the CDC. District leaders and representatives from our school nursing staff have been in direct contact with the Allegheny County Health Department.

    The coronavirus is spread much like the common cold or flu, such as through the air by coughing or sneezing; through close, personal contact; and through touching an object or surface with the virus on it.  As such, our Facilities & Operations Department has reviewed and made the necessary preparations to ensure that our schools are amply stocked with recommended cleaning supplies to fight a variety of germs and viruses. Since it is cold and flu season, our custodial staff is spending extra time and attention on high-touch surfaces. We appreciate their diligence in helping to keep our schools healthy and safe.

    Out of an abundance of caution, the Thai-USA Exchange – which typically welcomes students and teachers from Thailand for a month each spring – has been suspended until 2021. At this time, we will continue to monitor travel advisories from the CDC in making decisions regarding all school-sponsored travel for as long as necessary. 

    Although there have been no confirmed cases in the area, we are following recommendations of the CDC and monitoring travel and potential exposure for our students and families.  We are also exploring options to address educational needs for any students who cannot attend school temporarily.

    GUIDANCE TO FAMILIES RETURNING FROM INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

    We ask that if any member of your household (adult or child) has traveled to any one of the travel-restricted countries in the past 14 days that you immediately contact your building principal to discuss any required safety protocols prior to returning your child(ren) to school.  The travel restricted countries currently include: China, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea or Hong Kong – this list will be updated as guidance is provided by the CDC.

    Additionally, if your child has been approved for international travel via the district’s educational trip form, contact your building principal prior to your child returning to school. 

    PRECAUTIONS

    As this outbreak is a virus, the best defense is to follow the same precautions recommended to prevent the spread of the cold and flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following practical advice: 

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • The CDC does not recommend the use of face masks as a way to prevent the virus’ spread.

    Maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our students, staff and all who enter our facilities is our top priority. If necessary and appropriate, we will provide further updates. In the meantime, below please find links to several online resources from the CDC, the Pennsylvania Department of Health as well as the Allegheny County Health Department.

    Please be assured that our district administrators and health services staff are monitoring this situation on a daily basis. However, the focus within our schools and classrooms continues to be on education while providing a safe, nurturing environment. Should you have any concerns regarding your child’s health and safety, please contact your healthcare provider, school nurse and/or building principal. Thank you for helping to keep our schools and, most importantly, our students safe and healthy.

    Sincerely,

     

    John Rozzo, Ed.D.
    Superintendent of Schools


    Resource Links