We are writing to make you aware that our district is monitoring and planning for the potential impact that the new coronavirus may have on our community. We value the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. We are working closely with local and state officials and monitoring federal agencies to ensure that we have a thorough and appropriate plan to protect and educate our students. We would encourage you to remain calm, focus on the facts, and seek information from the sources listed in this letter.
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 or shortness of breath. The World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency, 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 carefully watch how this virus spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is 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. Based on current information the CDC recommends avoiding travel to China. Updated travel information related to 2019-nCoV can be found at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china
How Does 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus Spread? Health experts believe the virus probably spreads from animals to humans and from person to person. It’s not clear yet how easily the virus spreads from person-to-person. In the United States, the risk of COVID-19 for the general public is low. Therefore, there is no need to cancel school or social events, and there is no need for students or school staff to wear surgical masks at school.
Prevention? There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including COVID-19
Information to date suggests that COVID-19 causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Are visitors from China being screened? Yes, as of February 2nd new screening protocols are conducted for individuals entering the US from China at designated airports; Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Atlanta.
PreK-12 schools may have students who attend school and have traveled to various areas in Asia, including China. Students should not be excluded from school or any school activities based on race, country of origin, or 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.
This is an emerging, rapidly changing situation. For questions please contact your local department of health or the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Response hotline: 1-877-427-7317. We encourage you to keep up to date about COVID-19, its treatment and prevention by visiting the following websites:
Harvard Health, Coronavirus Resource Center: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus-resource-center
CDC’s Dedicated COVID-19 Website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Kansas Directory of Local Health Departments: http://www.kdheks.gov/olrh/download/health_directory.pdf