SUPERINTENDENT CORNER COLUMN
PROTECTING AGAINST COMMUNICABLE DISEASE
February 28, 2020
Dear Verona Community Members,
The Verona Public School district is committed to the health, safety, and well-being of our students. There has been increasing attention regarding coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) over the past several weeks. It is important to highlight that there have been no reported or confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Verona Public Schools. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) stated that, “While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat.”
Although there is no concern about coronavirus in our schools at this time, we have begun planning for the potential community spread of the virus. Our custodial department has disinfected our schools and we will continue to sanitize our buildings as a precaution moving forward. We are in the process of installing additional alcohol-free hand sanitizers in public areas in our schools. We are also preparing for the potential impact to our community health and the delivery of instruction for our students. The Verona Public Schools administration and technology department is working on plans for instructional delivery should a public health issue arise that would impact attendance in our schools.
Our health department and administration will work closely with families to ensure the health and well-being of all community members is ensured. We strongly recommend that all families with a child in our schools who have recently traveled outside of the United States contact our school nurse prior to sending your child back to school. In the event a student or staff member is suspected of having a communicable disease, he/she shall not be readmitted back to school until written medical evidence is presented stating the person is free of the communicable disease. We will continue to support the confidentiality of all students and appropriate timeline for re-entry to school for any potentially affected students or staff. Any person with illness symptoms should remain home to prevent infecting other people.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has stated that “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. Parents have a responsibility to discuss these preventive actions with your child:
- 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 for using a facemask. CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks 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 health care 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.”
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the State of New Jersey Department of Health websites provide information on the prevention of coronavirus at the following links:
The Verona Public Schools will continue to closely monitor the situation and collaborate with health and government organizations to ensure the well-being of our entire community governing the prevention, control, and reporting of communicable disease. We all have a part to play in staying healthy and we encourage everyone to follow these recommendations. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
All my best,
Dr. Rui Dionisio