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COVID-19 Health Information

COVID-19 Health Information
Posted on 03/06/2020
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Windham Northeast Supervisory Union COVID 19

 

Release by The Superintendent of school on March 3, 2020

 

The below information was taken from www.healthvermont.gov

To prepare for possible community transmission of COVID-19, the most important

thing for schools to do now is a plan and prepare. As the global outbreak evolves,

schools should prepare for the possibility of community-level outbreaks. Schools

want to be ready if COVID-19 does appear in their communities.

Childcare and K-12 school administrators nationwide can take steps to help stop

or slow the spread of respiratory infectious diseases, including COVID-19:

● Review, update and implement emergency operations plans (EOPs). This

should be done in collaboration with local health departments and other

relevant partners. Focus on the components, or annexes, of the plans that

address infectious disease outbreaks.

Ensure the plan includes strategies to reduce the spread of a wide variety of

infectious diseases (e.g., seasonal influenza). Effective strategies build on

everyday school policies and practices.

Ensure the plan emphasizes common-sense preventive actions for students and

staff. For example, emphasize actions such as staying home when sick;

appropriately covering coughs and sneezes; cleaning frequently touched

surfaces, and washing hands often.

■ CDC has workplace resources such as posters with messages for staff

about staying home when sick and how to avoid spreading germs at work

■ Other health and education professional organizations may also have

helpful resources your school can use or share. For example, the

American Academy of Pediatrics provides information on germ prevention

strategies and reducing the spread of illness in the childcare setting

Ensure handwashing strategies include washing with soap and water for at least

20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap

and water are not available.

■ CDC offers several free handwashing resources that include health promotion

materials , information on proper handwashing techniques , and tips for families

to help children develop good handwashing habits .

Reference key resources while reviewing, updating, and implementing the EOP:

■ Multiple federal agencies have developed resources on school planning

principles and a 6-step process for creating plans to build and continually foster

safe and healthy school communities before , during , and after possible

emergencies. Key resources include guidance on developing high-quality school

emergency operations plans and a companion guide on the role of school

districts in developing high-quality school emergency operations plans .

■ The Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical

Assistance (TA) Center’s website contains free resources, training, and TA to

schools and their community partners, including many tools and resources on

emergency planning and response to infectious disease outbreaks.

Develop information-sharing systems with partners.

■ Information-sharing systems can be used for day-to-day reporting (on information

such as changes in absenteeism) and disease surveillance efforts to detect and

respond to an outbreak.

■ Local health officials should be a key partner in information sharing.

Monitor and plan for absenteeism.

■ Review the usual absenteeism patterns at your school among both students and

staff.

■ Alert local health officials about large increases in student and staff absenteeism,

particularly if absences appear due to respiratory illnesses (like the common cold

or the “flu,” which have symptoms similar to symptoms of COVID-19).

■ Review attendance and sick leave policies. Encourage students and staff to stay

home when sick. Use flexibility, when possible, to allow staff to stay home to care

for sick family members.

■ Discourage the use of perfect attendance awards and incentives.

■ Identify critical job functions and positions, and plan for alternative coverage by

cross-training staff.

■ Determine what level of absenteeism will disrupt the continuity of teaching and

learning.

Establish procedures for students and staff who are sick at school.

■ Establish procedures to ensure students and staff who become sick at school or

arrive at school sick are sent home as soon as possible.

■ Keep sick students and staff separate from well students and staff until they can

leave.

■ Remember that schools are not expected to screen students or staff to identify

cases of COVID-19. The majority of respiratory illnesses are not COVID-19. If a

community (or more specifically, a school) has cases of COVID-19, local health

officials will help identify those individuals and will follow up on the next steps.

■ Share resources with the school community to help families understand when to

keep children home. This guidance, not specific to COVID-19, from the American

Academy of Pediatrics can be helpful for families

.

Perform routine environmental cleaning.

■ Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, light switches,

countertops) with the cleaners typically used. Use all cleaning products according

to the directions on the label.

■ Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (e.g., keyboards,

desks, remote controls) can be wiped down by students and staff before each

use.

Create communications plans for use with the school community.

■ Include strategies for sharing information with staff, students, and their families.

■ Include information about steps being taken by the school or childcare facility to

prepare, and how additional information will be shared.

Review CDC’s guidance for businesses and employers.

■ Review this CDC guidance to identify any additional strategies the school can

use, given its role as an employer.

Childcare and K-12 administrators can also support their school community by

sharing resources with students (if resources are age-appropriate), their families,

and staff. Coordinate with local health officials to determine what type of

information might be best to share with the school community. Consider sharing

the following fact sheets and information sources:

● Information about COVID-19 available through state and local health

departments

● General CDC fact sheets to help staff and students’ families understand

COVID-19 and the steps they can take to protect themselves:

What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

What to do if you are sick with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Stop the spread of germs – help prevent the spread of respiratory

viruses like COVID-19

● CDC Information on COVID-19 and children

● CDC information for staff, students, and their families who have recently

traveled back to the United States from areas where CDC has identified

community spread of coronavirus:

A list of countries where community spread of COVID-19 is occurring can be

found on the CDC webpage: Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel

For questions about students who plan to travel, or have recently traveled, to

areas with community spread of COVID-19, refer to CDC’s FAQ for travelers .

Schools can also consult with state and local health officials. Schools may need to

postpone or cancel trips that could expose students and staff to potential

community spread of COVID-19. Students returning from travel to areas with

community spread of COVID-19 must follow the guidance they have received

from health officials. COVID-19 information for travel is updated regularly on the

CDC website .

Additional Procedures for WNESU

The WNESU recognizes that a pandemic/epidemic is a serious threat that stands

to affect students, staff, and the community as a whole. At all times the health,

safety, and welfare of the students shall be the first priority. The Windham

Northeast Supervisory Union shall follow the advice and recommendations in the

State of Vermont’s Influenza Pandemic Public Health Preparedness & Response

Plan, as prepared by the Dept. of Health & Human Services.

Planning and Coordination

Planning for a pandemic requires a multi-faceted effort, and school

preparedness should include input from a team of individuals to address their

specific areas of expertise.

The Superintendent shall designate one or more employees to serve as a liaison

between the school district and local and state health officials. This designee is

responsible for communicating with health officials to identify local hazards,

determine what crisis plans exist in the school district and community, and to

establish procedures to account for student well being and safety during such a

crisis. The designee shall work with local health officials to coordinate their

pandemic/epidemic plans with that of the school district. The Board encourages

the designee to become a member of the Health Alert Network through the New

Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services.

The principal and/or school nurse or other designees shall develop a

curriculum component to health classes that are designed to teach

students about preventing or limiting the spread of communicable

diseases.

With fiscal concerns in mind, the district may purchase and store supplies

necessary for an epidemic/pandemic response, including but not limited to

disinfectant products, face masks, water, examination gloves, and other

supplies as recommended by the school nurse.

The Superintendent shall develop procedures and plans for the transportation of

students in the event students are released from school early.

 

Response

In the event anyone within the school is discovered or suspected to have a

communicable disease that may result in transmission to other students, faculty,

or staff, that person shall be immediately isolated pending a further medical

examination. The Vermont Communicable Disease Control Section of the

Department of Health and Human Services shall be notified immediately.

Infection Control

Any student or staff member found to be infected with a communicable disease

that may bear the risk of transmission will be excluded from school until that

individual's primary care physician or other medical personnel indicating that the

individual does not bear the risk of transmitting the communicable disease

provide medical clearance.

Students with excessive absences due to a communicable disease may be given

a reprieve from other Board policies relative to excessive student absences.

Efforts will be made by the staff to determine what if any, schoolwork the student

can complete while absent.

Staff members who are forced to miss excessive days of work shall first use any

leave entitled to them through the Family and Medical Leave Act and/or accrued

sick leave. If a staff member has still not received medical clearance to resume

his/her work duties, absences in excess of a staff member's allotted leave will not

affect the employee’s right to continued employment.

Continuance of Education

The Superintendent will develop a plan of alternate means of educating students

in the event of prolonged school closings and/or extended absences. Such a

plan may include providing students with assignments via mail, local access

cable television, or the school district's website.

The Superintendent is authorized to amend the traditional class schedule and

schedule of days. Such a plan may include extending the school day, having

school days held on Saturdays, the use of previously scheduled vacation days,

and/or extending the school year beyond the previously established end of the

school year.

 

References:

This site has been created by the State of Vermont Please use it as

an additional resource and Guidance.

https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-n

ovel-coronavirus

 

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