Letter to Parents Re: Steps DCS is Taking Regarding Coronavirus
Note: This letter was emailed to parents on Monday, March 2, 2020. We continue to be in contact with the Genesee County Health Department regarding this matter. A list of additional resources can be found at https://www.davisonschools.org/Page/69
With all of the talk in the news about the coronavirus, or COVID-19, it is easy to feel anxious and even a bit scared about what to expect if we begin experiencing cases of this virus locally. That is one of the reasons we wanted to reach out to parents and guardians with this letter. We want to reassure you that we are taking the coronavirus threat very seriously and will continue to monitor and expand our knowledge about the situation daily.
Currently, the State of Michigan has reported no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. In fact, according to state officials, the health risk to the general public of Michigan from COVID-19 remains low at this time. That being said, the District has reached out to the experts at the Genesee County Health Department for advice on what we can do to help reduce the risk of exposure within our schools while maintaining our business of keeping students and staff engaged in the learning process.
Danielle Lederer, epidemiologist with the Genesee County Health Department, says that influenza activity remains high in Michigan with Influenza B and A-H1N1 strains predominating.
With weeks of the flu season still remaining, local health officials stress that the tried and true preventative efforts of hand washing and staying home when sick remain the key ways to fight the spread of illness.
Unfortunately, symptoms of the coronavirus are very similar to that of respiratory illnesses from influenza and other viruses. Person-to-person transfer of COVID-19 appears to spread via respiratory transmission. Symptoms are similar to those of influenza (e.g., fever, cough, and shortness of breath). (Fact and symptom sheets about the Coronavirus, Seasonal Influenza and Strep, as well as other resources, are attached to this letter.)
In order to help reduce your chances of getting sick or spreading illness, health officials recommend that you:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Cover cough with a tissue or sleeve.
- If you have not already done so, get your flu shot to help avoid other seasonal respiratory illness.
At Davison Community Schools, we will be reviewing once again and reinforcing our “proper hand washing techniques” lessons that are already included in our health curriculum. In addition, signs reminding students to wash their hands and not touch their facial “T-zone” will be added in and near restrooms.
Approximately 10 years ago, the district installed hand sanitizing dispensers in hallways and common areas, near cafeterias and other strategic locations. We will continue to encourage students and staff to use these dispensers to help reduce the risk of illness.
As we have routinely done in the past, when we become aware of areas where an increased number of illnesses are being reported, our custodial team performs extra cleaning of that classroom, common area, etc.
We will also continue to seek the advice of and work with the Genesee County Health Department. Should we find ourselves in the position where we are forced to make a decision to exclude a student or staff member or to close schools altogether due to sickness, it will be thoroughly examined on a case-by-case basis and in coordination with our local health department.
Last week, Governor Whitmer announced the activation of the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) where state, local, and federal agencies will coordinate statewide readiness and communication related to COVID-19. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will continue actively preparing, monitoring, and coordinating response activities through the SEOC and has developed a COVID-19 website located at michigan.gov/coronavirus. It is updated regularly with the most current available information.
We will continue to share with you as more information becomes available. Thank you in advance for doing your part in helping to prevent the spread of illness by keeping your student home when he/she is sick and reinforcing good hand washing routines at home.
P.S. Please be aware that we have also heard reports of a virus of a different kind. It appears that some have taken advantage of the coronavirus situation through technology. Be vigilant when receiving unsolicited texts or emails asking you to click on a link to learn more about where the coronavirus is spreading. More than likely, it will take you to an inappropriate site.