PUSD shares coronavirus prep plan with parents

Piedmont Unified School District sent the following letter to families in Piedmont schools on Friday, Feb. 28:

As we continue to learn more about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we are writing to you today to share our efforts to address student/staff and visitors’ hygiene and respiratory etiquette on our campuses.

At this time, there are no confirmed cases of the virus on campus or in Alameda County. We remain vigilant in our District prevention and are ready to take prompt and effective action should a case occur here.

School district leadership is in close contact with Piedmont’s City Administrator, Fire Chief, and Schoolmates Program regarding our coordinated efforts to support student/staff health and well-being.

Additionally, we are proactively engaged with the Alameda County Office of Education, Alameda County Department of Public Health, City of Piedmont, and the California Department of Education.  This is in addition to ongoing efforts that include District and City leaders meeting regularly to develop and review plans regarding best practices in hygiene etiquette and how to ensure we will meet teaching obligations if there are a number of cases on campus or within our community.

Throughout the District, we are focusing our efforts on improving proper hygiene and respiratory etiquette for all students, staff, and visitors.  As we enter next week, we are establishing several protocols and procedures to this end.

  1. We have ordered 48 additional touch-free hand sanitizing units for our six school sites.  They are stocked with an alcohol-based product called InstantFoam.
  2. PUSD custodians are using TBcide to clean/disinfect tabletops, desks, door handles, etc. on a nightly basis at each school site.
  3. School site administrators and staff will develop and implement procedures where all students will be asked to use hand sanitizers or wash their hands at specific time(s) throughout the school day (e.g. at the start of school, before and after recess/lunch periods when students may be eating, etc.)
  4. Students are not permitted to attend school if they have a fever or a fever mitigated by medication.  Additionally, if a student shows signs of respiratory illness, that student should stay home and not attend school.
  5. District policy requires that “students who miss three or more days of school in succession must present a doctor’s note, if the absences are due to illness.”  This policy will be strictly enforced.
  6. The California Department of Education (CDE) is recommending that all Districts across the state of California consider educational planning for students if a mandatory 14-day quarantine is instituted (either partially for only those students who become infected) or more drastically if CDE, CA Department of Public Health, Alameda County Office of Education, or the Superintendent decides to close schools for an extended period of time.  We are currently investigating options for distance-teaching/learning with the use of Schoology and student Chromebooks and will partner with our educators in its development.

While we may never need to implement this distance-teaching/learning scenario, we are planning nonetheless.

Information on Novel Coronalvirus (COVID-19)
There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. 

How it’s spread
Current understanding about how the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses.
Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
  • Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.


Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

When does this happen?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Symptoms

For confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. It appears that to date the majority of cases involve mild illness. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath


CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.

The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) web page.
Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • 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.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations on the use of a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Face Masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).
  • 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.


For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.


Treatment
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 at this time. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. 
 
People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately and before presenting to their healthcare provider’s office.  It is essential to follow your healthcare provider’s office protocol for being evaluated.

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